Marshals too distracted by play

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — We are walking a fine line here, because plain and simple, there is no U.S. Open without volunteers. They may not be the show – the players have that nailed down – but they are a mandatory ingredient to its success.

Which is where we introduce the big but . . . as in, but it would be nice if somehow word could get passed on to the hundreds of marshals at Bethpage Black that their job requires them to watch the patrons, not the golf. You don’t need many fingers to count the marshals who are actually turned toward the crowd, which is how they’d spot unruly fans (plenty of them here) or be able to keep them from moving about.

That being said, it was not a marshal who made Geoff Ogilvy back off of a 3-foot putt at the par-5 fourth hole. Instead it was a U.S. Golf Association official, who absent-mindedly walked from one spot off the green to another, directly in Ogilvy’s line. “Mate,” Ogilvy said, “you’ve got to stop.”

The official barely acknowledged Ogilvy, but kept on walking.

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