The PGA Tour appears to be spoiling for a fight with some members of the golf press who have been using digital media to report on tournaments in real time.
The Tour has long objected to play-by-play coverage by non-broadcast reporters at its tournaments, whether the reporters were sending updates via Twitter or manning live blogs in the press center. However, the Tour generally allowed live blogs and Tweets that were done away from the course, with television or radio as the primary source of information.
But on Thursday the Tour sent an e-mail to members of the media that threatened stiff penalties for journalists who send "real-time, play-by-play transmission in digital outlets," even if those posts are sent from an offsite location. In addition to revoking the credential for the offending reporter, the Tour said it would revoke credentials for "all journalists affiliated with" that reporter's organization.
The complete e-mail from Ty Votaw, executive vice president of communications for the Tour:
"As you know, our media regulations prohibit the use of real-time, play-by-play transmission in digital outlets. In order to enforce these regulations, beginning this year, we will revoke the on-site credentials of all journalists affiliated with outlets that post play-by-play coverage, whether those posts are originating from tournament site or otherwise."
The e-mail caused a great deal of grumbling among reporters at the Farmers Insurance Open, this week's Tour stop in San Diego, and on Twitter. Golf.com will continue to report on the Tour's position and will also live blog Friday's second round.