This week it has been reported that guidelines have been issued to ticket holders warning them against posting images and video on social media for the duration of the tournament.
In a time when other sporting events are looking to capitalise on the proliferation of mobile phones, and second screen devices generally, it’s an interesting move that will prove hard to police. Imagine the winning putt or celebrations of the win not being posted to friends on Facebook as soon as it happens?
This doesn’t affect the millions who will be tuning in to watch Europe’s finest battle the US team. There will be a multitude of ways in which fans will be able to get their fix via digital but seeing the experiences of those on ground through their pictures won’t be one of them (more on that in another article soon).
With 250,000 people expected over the 6 days allowed to bring mobile phones onto the course (on silent) it’s going to be interesting to see how much officials enforce the rules which state;
“Images taken with a camera, mobile phone or other electronic device cannot be used for any purpose other than for private and domestic purposes. You must not sell, license, publish (including, without limitation, via Twitter or Facebook or any other social media site) or otherwise commercially exploit photographs.”
While texting is allowed, and calls in designated areas, mobile phones must be in silent mode at all times. Other prohibitions include a ban on autographs, running, personal mobility scooters and children under five.
A spokesman for Ryder Cup Europe told The Telegraph:
“The Ryder Cup is one of the world’s most recognised sporting events and as such we need to ensure that the brand, encompassing fair play, teamwork and camaraderie is protected at all times which means ensuring that images of the event are not used for monetary gain in a manner which may go against those principles.
“The taking of pictures during high pressure sporting events has also been shown to have an adverse effect on players, with shutter sounds and bright flashes proving to be a distraction at critical moments. It is not fair to compromise the sporting occasion for either the players or those spectating.”
One thing that may work in the organisers favour is the general lack of internet access at golf events. If they don’t add wifi stations around the course, as they did at the British Open this year, then the chance of 3G working with so many people around is going to be remote. Thus people will lose the moment and they wont be uploaded until they get home or to their hotel.
It’s not only the spectators who could be affected by this. The golfers involved are some of the heaviest users of social media, especially Twitter, in the sports world. The likes of Ian Poulter (1.7m fans), Justin Rose (363k), Rory McIlroy (2m), Bubba Watson (1.2m), Rickie Fowler (789k) and many of both teams have large followings to keep up to state – as well as appease sponsors.
Generally they are allowed to post pictures on practice days from on the course but not during playing days. Although The Telegraph talks about players not being able to use social media, the final decision on players using social media actually lies with the captain, in this case Paul McGinley, who isn’t active on social himself.
Back in 2010, when it was last held in Europe, one of the most entertaining aspects was following the players updates throughout the event as Europe went on to an exciting win. It was the first time social media was able to give us insights into golf’s greatest event and has remained popular with the games players and fans since.
Fingers crossed McGinley allows his players to remain active away from the course and we get to see McIlroy and his teammates celebrating with a selfie!