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Ryder Cup organizers announce reversal of original ban on selfies, social media

rory-mcilroy-selfie

Facing a burgeoning public relations nightmare, the powers-that-be running the Ryder Cup have reconsidered its original ban on selfies, fan photography and other social media-related activities. And in doing so, have now reversed course, announcing that not only spectators, but competitors as well (including Rory McIlroy, an avid selfie-taker, above), will not be subjected to a camera phone lock down implemented and enforced by a contingent of social media-thwarting, gestapo-like officials.

The Ryder Cup announced the decision via a statement on its official site on Wednesday.

Social media interaction, photography and the sharing of content are all going to be encouraged at The 2014 Ryder Cup.

Ryder Cup Europe has moved to reassure spectators that they will be allowed to take photos and video on their mobile phones during the event, and will be encouraged to share their experiences on social networks.

A range of initiatives are already in place for visitors to engage with when they arrive at the event. This includes the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, which will allow spectators to take part in fun activities around the course and share their experiences instantly on social media using a special wristband.

Ryder Cup Europe has also been working with the Scottish Government and mobile phone providers to provide ultrafast 4G wireless connections across the venue.

Organisers have rules in place for spectators on the course at Gleneagles in order to avoid disrupting players and the experience of other spectators.

The use of cameras will be prohibited at each hole during play in order to avoid disrupting players and to enable a clear line of sight for all spectators, many of whom will be standing or sitting around the course rather than in a raised position in a grandstand.

As noted in the final paragraph, the typical rules associated with the use of cameras during play will still be enforced, so the esteemed tournament will not devolve into some kind of uncontrolled ogry of social media mayhem. Which is understandable.

The original ban, as reported by Golf.com, was worded as follows:

“Images taken with a camera, mobile phone or other electronic device cannot be used for any purpose other than for private and domestic purposes. You must not sell, license, publish (including, without limitation, via Twitter or Facebook or any other social media site) or otherwise commercially exploit photographs.”

So the decision by the Ryder Cup to alter its social media policies resulted in a complete one-eighty from its original stance. Probably a good call in the long run.

The statement announcing the decision to allow social media postings, tweets, etc. also featured a statement from Edward Kitson, Match Director of The 2014 Ryder Cup, who states that necessary lines regarding acceptable conduct nevertheless will be drawn, however.

“We want people to share their stories online and feel part of The Ryder Cup. We have put in place a range of fantastic activities in the tented village and around the course that use technology to improve the visitor experience, and these are integrated with social networks. Selfies are positively encouraged and I expect to see plenty of them during the event.

“However, I’m sure everyone will understand that we have to draw a line in the interests of fair play and respect for the players and fellow spectators. Therefore no photography or video will be allowed during play at any hole. This is something we fully expect everyone to support given that The Ryder Cup is won and lost on very fine margins: we want to give the teams every chance of a level playing field and ensure everyone can see the action.”

A very fair distinction, indeed. But can you imagine how a man who goes by the name Edward Kitson and the title Match Director of The 2014 Ryder Cup felt about having to say, “Selfies are positively encouraged”?

First of all, Mr. Kitson probably felt the bile rising up in the back of his throat while making the preceding pronouncement, if not having to ask someone, “What in the bloody hell is a blasted selfie”?

For the record, Kitson is the bloke on the right in the below photo:

edward-kitson

Yeah, Selfie-gate probably was the last thing on this fellow’s mind heading into the Ryder Cup and certainly the last controversy he believed he’d have to navigate through heading into the esteemed event, which kicks off Sept. 23 in Perthshire, Scotland.