Stanley on defense as 'Fore' etiquette questioned

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland -- PGA Tour pro Kyle Stanley strongly disputed European Tour rookie Robert MacIntyre's account of an errant tee shot on 17 that hit the mother of MacIntyre's caddie during the second round of the Open Championship on Friday.

After the round, MacIntyre criticized Stanley for not yelling "Fore" when his tee shot headed way right of the fairway. But Stanley said several people standing on the tee box -- including MacIntyre, their playing partner Andrew Johnston and Stanley's caddie -- were already yelling, along with a handful of marshals.

"You even had them signaling that it was going right," Stanley said Saturday after shooting 2-over 73 in the third round at Royal Portrush Golf Club. "Everyone to the right, they knew it was coming. To me, it's kind of a non-issue. I'm not sure why [MacIntyre] decided to make such an issue about it. I knew it hit his caddie's mom in the hand off the bounce, and that's unfortunate.

"As far as I'm concerned, a number of people yelled 'Fore.' He made the argument that since I hit the ball, it maybe should have come out of my mouth first, and I guess I can see that. But it's unfortunate it ended up the way it did. It certainly wasn't my intention to put anyone in harm's way. I had my wife in the gallery and my coaches. I'm surprised it's kind of come to this point."

After the wayward tee shot, Stanley said he asked patrons in the gallery if his ball hit anyone.

"I went up there, and the first thing I asked everybody was if I hit anybody," he said. "No one gave me an indication that I did. That's the first thing you do when you hit a ball off line. You get up there and ask if everybody is OK, and that's what I did. Nobody told me that I did [hit them]."

Stanley said MacIntyre, who is from Scotland, didn't bring up the issue until they were signing their scorecards after the second round.

Stanley said he was surprised to read MacIntyre's comments in The Scotsman on Friday night, in which he said: "We're shouting as it's coming into the crowd, and he's just standing watching it. People don't have enough time to react after we shout. It hits Greg [Milne's], my caddie's mom. And so I told them how it was."

MacIntyre described his conversation with Stanley as "heated."

"Aye, there were harsh words," said MacIntyre, according to The Scotsman. "It wasn't too pleasant. But you've got to tell him it's not right. He didn't take it well at all."

Stanley said he only spoke to MacIntyre for a few minutes while signing his scorecard and hasn't talked to him again.

"I wouldn't say heated," Stanley said. "We talked about it briefly. I was caught off-guard that it even came up, really. I just explained my side of it. I saw what he said last night. The way things were kind of painted from his perspective, I mean, he left out quite a few details. I wouldn't really say that was an accurate description of what happened. They knew the ball was going that way."

Stanley said he believes that if his ball had hit someone other than Milne's mother, he wouldn't have been so upset.

"If it didn't, I don't think we'd be talking about it," Stanley said.

MacIntyre also criticized Stanley for not yelling "Fore" when he hit an errant shot on 14 in the second round. Stanley hit a 5-wood out of the rough, and his ball bounced off a marshal's shin.

"My caddie yelled 'Fore' about a second after it came off the clubface," Stanley said.

In June, the PGA Tour sent a memo to its players reminding them to yell "Fore" after hitting a wayward shot.

"Injuries to spectators are a serious concern to the PGA Tour," the memo said. "Members are reminded that the use of the word 'Fore' is the traditional and expected warning/etiquette when there is a danger of hitting someone. Simply indicating the direction of the ball by pointing the club is not enough of a warning."

Graeme McDowell on Saturday said he understands how golfers can become "a little lazy" due to the quality of the marshals doing their job.

"Sometimes you look at watching a ball, and you kind of forget sometimes, especially on blind tee shots, that there are some crowds around the corner," McDowell said. "We do get lazy sometimes because the marshaling is so good. There's a lot of signaling. There's a lot of forecaddying going on from the tee box. The quality of marshaling and the quality of setup sometimes makes us a little lazy as players, because the guys on the tee are giving great signals."

Stanley, 31, who has won twice on the PGA Tour, said he is aware of the proper etiquette and didn't need to be reminded by MacIntyre.

"When you're talking about somebody playing within the boundaries of the etiquette of golf, that's kind of a touchy situation," Stanley said. "To paint somebody in a bad light and not playing within the etiquette of the game, you've got to be careful when you do that. When you tell your story, you've got to make sure you add all of the details.

"From what I read last night, he didn't do that. He's a young player, and I've been out here for a while and don't feel the need to be schooled on the rules of golf and what to do when you hit a shot off line."