Golf reporter Stephanie Wei lost her PGA Tour credentials after she used mobile live-streaming app Periscope to show golfers teeing off in practice at TPC Harding Park last Monday. The tour revoked her access “for the remainder of the season” on Wednesday.
Wei wrote about the incident on her site. She admitted that she had received a warning for Instagramming a video of Tiger Woods’s round at the Phoenix Open earlier this year, but considered this to be a different circumstance since she was filming a practice round that wouldn’t have been televised anyway:
I understand the Tour has certain rules and regulations in place to protect their broadcasting partners, but this was a Monday (which I also now understand is technically during the tournament week). However, I was unclear with whether it conflicted with broadcasting rights since the practice rounds (to my knowledge) are not televised, nor was the somewhat raw, alternative footage I was showing. It was truly meant to spread fanfare for the Tour, its players and the event.
Fans — people who don’t have credentials — can Periscope until the cows come home, but the media is prohibited from providing the masses that don’t have the privilege of attending the event with fresh, interesting and different content. If I’m the Tour, I would encourage the media to use their access to Periscope during practice rounds as often as possible from Monday to Wednesday.
PGA Tour chief marketing officer Ty Votaw didn’t see a difference, telling Golf.com that when Wei posts “unauthorized videos, she’s stealing.”
The tour is well within its rights to protect its televised product, but no one was watching a practice round on TV, and if they were watching Wei’s stream, at least they were paying attention to the tournament, and the sport. Reporters posting trivial bits of golf on mobile devices and the internet aren’t taking money out of the tour’s pocket. It’s not surprising that the PGA Tour, a stuffy organization for a stuffy sport, is being so truculent over something as inconsequential as this, but that doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.
Correction (4:55 p.m.): The article referred to the PGA Tour as the PGA. The instances have been corrected.
Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images Sport
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