The PGA Tour is the organizer of the main professional golf tours played primarily by men in the United States and North America. Golf, as a sport, is one very focused on its appearance and the PGA Tour, accordingly, cares immensely about its public perception. Aside from the scandals, there are other interesting things that happen during the PGA Tour. Here are some unknown facts about it. 

Gifting Players

In order to increase attendance and ticket revenue, all tournaments advertise certain players. These players are given gift bags with very generous gifts ranging from Tiffany jewelry to a smartphone. By doing this, tournament managers hope that these players will come play again the following year. And who can’t get convinced with gifts?

Forgetting Missed Cuts

No one likes to lose, but it happens even to professionals. And naturally, they want to forget their bad day. The slang term is called “trunk slamming,” which means when someone plays well below his or her potential and is in a hurry to get to the bar. If a pro is playing a few weeks in a row on the road, they don’t want to go home for a day or two after one cut. Therefore, it’s fairly common to see a fellow pro at the bar shortly after playing and asking each other, “You trunk slamming too, bro?” The rest of the night is history…

Gambling

It’s no secret that John Daly, American professional golfer on the PGA Tour, is a huge gambler. There are, however, many more that just like to keep their names out of the headlines. Gambling happens both on and off the course. A PGA Tour caddie recounts his experience at a blackjack table with a pro. He was playing between 30-50 dollars a hand and felt pretty generous, only to look at the pro and see him playing 3 hands at about 400 dollars. The pro easily lost thousands of dollars in less than half an hour.

Smoking

While we don’t see it on television as much anymore, smoking still exists on tour. A lot of professionals don’t anymore because of their sponsors’ pressure to quit; however, caddies definitely do. Aside from the leisure benefit, smoking does have a functional aspect. While it is difficult to tell which direction grass blades are blowing with a light breeze, smoke always goes with the wind. This can be extremely helpful.  

Much to the disapproval of smokers, some golf courses across the country have been trying to ban smoking on golf courses. A few public golf courses in Spokane, Washington tried to ban smoking and were met with great public outcry.

“Golf and cigars go together like a hand in a glove,” said Dale Taylor, president of the Cigar Association of Washington, in an interview with Associated Press.

Recent evidence of illnesses caused by secondhand smoke has led to more bans on indoor smoking; however, people feel that bans in expansive places like golf courses is unfair. Attempted bans have been met with backlash, and at facilities that are paid for by the golfers, golf courses have been unsuccessful in the implementation. Some golfers believe their cigars to be their lucky charms—even going as far as customizing their own cigar (options available at Custom Tobacco).

If you’re lucky and can still smoke on the course, keep these etiquettes in mind:

-Be cognizant of wind direction: Position yourself so the smoke blows away from players who may not want to smell it. In fact, ask if it’s okay before you light up.

-Watch the greens when finding a place to lay down your cigar: Don’t put your burning cigar on the putting greens or even ash it out. Invest in a golf cigar holder or keep the cigar in your mouth.

-Bring a torch: Even while trying to block the wind, lighting a cigar with matches and small lighters can be a pain. A torch lighters is a golf smoker’s essential accessory.

Using Drugs

Weed, as well as other popular substances, are extremely common. There have been pros who have admitted to smoking on the course during tournaments. Of course the PGA Tour does its best to make sure word of any of their players’ bad habits never gets out, and when it does, it usually fails to give a comment. Often times, what we hear or see in the media about a player’s injury or leave of absence is just half the story. At every tournament, someone is randomly drug tested. As soon as a player signs his scorecard, if he’s the chosen one, a representative from the independent drug testing company will come up with a cup for him to pee in. Players are caught and suspended all the time because of this test, but the public is in the dark about it.

While the lifestyle may look extremely refined and proper, just as with about everything else in life, there’s a lot that doesn’t meet the eye. At the end of the day, professionals are human too.

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