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Put down that cellphone and back away

So, you want to know why Jack Nicklaus is the greatest golfer who ever lived, aside from the 18 majors and all that?

It's because, on top of everything else, the man just makes sense.

Here, for instance, is his take on fans using cellphone cameras on the golf course, which is strictly verboten by the PGA but which, frankly, the PGA can't really do anything about: "There is no way in the world you could have a tournament police that policy. What do you want, the Gestapo out there? It's kind of ridiculous. You've got 30,000, 40,000 people out there. How are going to go out there and do that? That's crazy, you can't do that."

Nope, you can't, no matter how much Tiger Woods and others crab about it. It became an issue this week at Nicklaus' home tournament, the Memorial, because it's speculated Phil Mickelson's withdrawal after one round, citing "mental fatigue," was in part precipitated by cellphones going off on the course.

Nicklaus' take is, hey, welcome to 2012. Man up and learn to ignore it, the way he says he used to. If you're concentrating on what you're doing out there, he reasons, you're not going to be fazed by some guy shooting your picture with a cellphone.

Amen to that, and amen to that. I've always thought the demand for reverent silence was especially absurd in tennis, where the gendarmes at Wimbledon and elsewhere actually make people moving about in the stands freeze during serve. Now, what on earth any tennis player good enough to play Wimby would be doing looking up into the stands in the first place at that moment is beyond me, but it's a long-held practice.

It's also nonsense. Look, if a baseball player can face down a 95-mph fastball while 25,000 people are whooping and hollering, a tennis player should be able to handle a couple of people moving around in the stands while he or she faces a 125-mph serve. If your concentration's that lousy, you shouldn't be out there.

Same goes for golfers.

Ben Smith's blog.