There was no Crosby weather at Pebble Beach this year, but it did rain—spittle, that is. When rookie Pat Perez wasn't busy excavating fairways with his three-wood, he seemed to spend an awful lot of time hawking loogies. This unfortunate habit has been popularized by Tiger Woods, always in the vanguard of any new golf trend. Woods often seems eager to get the bitter taste out of his mouth after a bad hole, and his profuse projectiles have not gone unnoticed by the game's old guard. "Every time he makes bogey, he stands on the end of the green and spits for the whole world to see," says crusty Jim Thorpe, a 53-year-old Senior tour regular. "It's totally disgusting."
The PGA Tour recently handed down stiffened penalties for slow play. Might we see a new fine structure for excessive ptooeying? "We've had discussions about [spitting] in player meetings," says Tour vet Blaine McCallister, 43. "We know it needs to stop." McCallister enjoys a pinch between his cheek and gum while hunting or fishing, but he eschews chewing tobacco during Tour events, Ironically, the chaw-inclined tend to be more courteous than those loosing tobacco-free loogies, like the 25-year-old Perez and Woods, 26. "There's an etiquette," says Steve Pate, 40, a dedicated Skoal man. "Bunkers are all right. It dries up in five minutes. Around the hole, not cool. In the hole is definitely not cool, unless you're really trying to piss off somebody."
Where all this spitting is going to lead is anybody's guess, but McCallister perceives ominous signs. "Now I see a thousand sunflower seeds on every green," he says. "Try putting over that."