Sunday, June 26, 2011

Golfers' Autographs

This is my experience with seeking the autographs of various professional golfers, and specifically the three golfers mentioned below.  I collect autographs for myself only, rather than with the intention of selling them on E-bay, etc… I have never been a particularly keen autograph seeker, at least not since I moved out of childhood.  However, in recent times, I have had the opportunity to request the autographs of various players.  My experiences are detailed below.


I attended the 2011 US Masters Par 3 competition.  I was pleased to be able to obtain the autographs of numerous professional golfers.  It should be noted that I will frame the large US Masters flag for my personal collection rather than trying to sell it on E-bay.  Most of the players were only too willing to sign the large flag, and some of them even made polite conversation with the fans.  WELL DONE to the golfers that made an effort to interact with their fans in such a way.  It was only Jhonattan Vegas with whom I had a problem, detailed under Comment 3 below.


When I lived in Saudi Arabia I was part of a golfing group called the “20 Club”.  I mentioned that I would be attending the 2006 Qatar Masters golf tournament in Doha.  In order to raise funds for a local charity event I was given a golf shirt from the Arizona Golf Resort Pro Shop and asked to obtain the autographs of various players.  Fortunately Aletta and I managed to obtain numerous autographs and the players were generally only too pleased to sign the shirt.  However, Vijay Singh was nothing short of a pain when it came to requesting autographs.  Not only was he extremely rude to the various children that asked him to sign golf balls, but people had to chase after him to receive his autograph.  He refused to sign golf balls for the children, even throwing them away when they were presented to him for signature. 

Shame on you, Vijay, and the way that you treated those kids that look up to you for your golfing ability.  Given that this was in 2006 I certainly hope you are no longer like this.  Aletta only managed to get your autograph after she followed you for five minutes after you came off the 18th green and were on your way to the putting green.  Shame on you for making your fans run after you.  Surely you could spare just five minutes at the end of the round to sign a few autographs rather than being such a pain and making it really difficult for your admirers to obtain your autograph?  Come on Vijay, these are just kids.  Is this really the kind of attitude you want to convey to your admiring fans?

Unfortunately this kind of behavior seems to be a character trait of Vijay.  One needs to just do a search on Google for Vijay Singh to read many negative articles that have been written about him over the years, including negative reactions to reporters and a range attendant that was trying to be helpful.  Oh well, perhaps one day he will realize the position he is in to positively influence his many fans, rather than going out of his way to be unpleasant.


As noted above, I attended the 2011 US Masters Par 3 competition.  Players generally congregate around the 9th green after their round and sign autographs for the children and adults.  Even the likes of the greats Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and South African Gary Player made time to greet fans and sign autographs.  However, Jhonatthan Vegas refused to sign a single autograph and just walked off the course as if he is God’s gift to the world of golf.  Even those fans from Venezuela, his home country, were refused an autograph. 

Shame on you ‘Johnny Vegas’.  What makes you think you can act this way?  You are not even a superstar!!  OK, so you have won one tournament on the PGA Tour.  So have many other golfers, most of whom are friendly and appreciative of their fans.

You lost a fan (me) that day by your blatant disregard for your fans.  One can only hope that you will change and appreciate that without the fans you would be nowhere.


I can somewhat sympathize with Tiger Woods not wanting to sign autographs.  As the world’s number 1 golfer for many years, everyone wants a piece of Tiger.  I attended the golf clinic hosted by Tiger Woods and others during the Dubai Desert Classic on 1 February 2008.  Following the clinic he was whisked away, while spending less than one minute signing autographs.  I suppose such an event has the potential to become a long and challenging evening, especially seeing Tiger in Dubai so infrequently, and given the number of supporters that Tiger has in the Middle East that would love his autograph.  However, I do believe that a few more autographs for his fans would be appreciated.  Even if he apologizes nicely after a few minutes of signing autographs saying he has another engagement, I am sure his fans would be more impressed, and regard him in greater favor.

I for one would love Tiger Woods’ autograph to complete my signatures on my 2010 Open Championship flag from St Andrews – so far I have the autographs of Sir Nick Faldo (obtained at St Andrews), Louis Oosthuizen (obtained at the Dubai World Championship in 2010) and John Daly (obtained during the 2011 US Masters).  It is just Tiger Woods that I would love to have sign my flag to complete the flag for winners of the Open Championship at St Andrews in recent years.


As a final thought, I would like to thank the many professional golfers that go out of their way to appreciate their fans – that’s what keeps us interested in the game.  We really only support the players that we like and respect.  Players like those mentioned above will never have my support.

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