Hole marshals hold signs that say “quiet please” all over golf courses, but one fan at the BMW Championship Saturday was anything but quiet.
As Max Homa was attempting a 5-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole at Olympia Fields, a fan screamed on his backstroke for him to “pull” his putt.
Another fan, right before his shot, was “cheering and yelling” for Chris Kirk “for missing his [own] putt short.”
“There was a probably drunk — I hope, for his case, or else he’s just the biggest loser there is — but he was cheering and yelling at Chris for missing his putt short,” Homa said after his third round.
Homa said the fans had side bets for $3.
“And he kept yelling — one of them had $3 for me to make mine — and I got to the back of my backstroke, and he yelled, ‘Pull it!’ pretty loud.”
Gambling has grown across the country in recent years as more and more states have legalized it. Homa said he “love[s] that people can gamble on golf,” but fans disrupting players’ shots for money “is the one thing I’m worried about.”
“It’s just always something that’s on your mind,” Homa said of fans shouting. “It’s on us to stay focused or whatever, but it’s just annoying when it happens. … Fans are so great about being quiet when we play. I think they are awesome. When anybody ever talks, it’s so unintentional.
“It just sucks when it’s incredibly intentional, and his friend specifically said it was for $3. Not that money matters, but that’s a frustrating number.”
Homa got the last laugh.
“I made it right in the middle, and then I just started yelling at him,” he said.
“It was nice to make it right in the middle,” Homa added. “And, hopefully, he had to pay his buddy that $3 immediately on the way out of the property.”
Scottie Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick were tied for the lead at 11 under, and Open champion Brian Harman was a stroke back. Homa was two shots back of the lead in the second tournament of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.