Power is a strange thing. A little of it goes a very long way. I noticed this last week at the Bell Canadian Open in Montreal. The last PGA Tour event hosted by the Royal Montreal Golf Club was the 1980 Canadian Open. The Championship has been held at Glen Abbey in Toronto every year since, until last week.
A lot of PGA Tour events have regular volunteers, people who take the same week off every year to marshall or help at parking lots, or provide locker room security or whatever, but when an event comes to a city only once every two decades or so, volunteers can get a little rusty. They can get a little crusty too. In the worst cases, an outbreak of NMS can occur. Nazi Marshall Syndrome is an insidious brain disorder, thankfully of a temporary nature, which can strike at any time after the marshall’s uniform has been donned. It can turn a mild mannered bank clerk into a goose stepping, finger pointing, quiet please waving lunatic in an instant.
In my years of playing golf around the world on many occasions I felt it necessary to back off the ball, distracted because of noise or movement. About 75% of the time it was because of a marshall who was telling someone whom I had not heard in the first place to be quiet. I thought I had seen it all, but last week I witnessed an even stranger phenomenon. As the last group played through, the marshalls on each hole would follow them to the next hole, picking up more marshalls on the way. By the time they all reached the 18th there were obviously too many marshalls, so the 18th hole marshalls decided to marshall the other marshalls. The other marshalls didn’t like this and a noisy shoving match ensued with much waving of ‘silence’ signs. It was absolutely hysterical. (Note, there was no s’il vous plait involved, just plain SILENCE!)
Having had a couple of unpleasant experiences myself, whilst trying to gain entrance to the clubhouse, (at one stage I thought there was going to be a rubber glove involved) I was highly pleased at this spectacle, and it left me with a warm fuzzy feeling. Human nature is indeed an ugly thing at times but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to watch.