After a couple of days of this, perhaps even a few hours, the golfers respond. They sit together at the tee box on the first hole and announce that the tournament will not continue until the harassment ends.
And then the organizers have a decision to make.
Perhaps not exactly that way, and perhaps not to the extent many fear, but take away the checkered slacks and the gallery ropes, and that is the template for what could happen when the Tour de France begins Saturday in Rotterdam.
No sport has struggled more publicly with the issue of preventing the use of performance-enhancing drugs among its competitors than cycling. Multiple champions have been deposed, sent off to the mandatory two-year suspensions required by sports that adhere to the World Anti-Doping Agency code. Every major race has had its problems, but the crown jewel of the sport, the Tour de France, has suffered more blemishes than most.
This does not please the French, of course, perhaps even less than the 25 years it has been since a Frenchman actually won the damn thing. They particularly disliked the seven consecutive Tour wins by American Lance Armstrong and are not fans of team director Johan Bruyneel, who, with Armstrong and Alberto Contador, has had the Tour winner nine of the last 11 years for the U.S. Postal Service team, along with Discovery and Astana.
There has been persistent skepticism about such a run of dominance, of course, particularly in a sport in which blood-doping of all sorts has been documented for years. When former Armstrong teammates Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis went off on their own and ran afoul of the drug testers, the circumstantial evidence mounted.
Still, Armstrong and his team have always come through cleanly. Whether that has been by dint of actually being clean or by merely having a better understanding of how the off-the-road game is played is a matter of conjecture. In the United States, where Armstrong's comeback-from-cancer saga and his foundation's work to fight the disease have made him a hero, he usually gets the benefit of the doubt. In France, not so much.
This year, the 38-year-old Armstrong will be riding in what could be his final Tour. He is part-owner of his new team, Radio Shack - directed by Bruynell, naturally - and it's always a good idea to give the new sponsor one season of having the star in the saddle. Armstrong, still showing some kick a year ago, finished third to then-teammate Contador, who has remained with the Astana team.
It could have been just another Tour this year, but that possibility went over the guard rail in April when Landis, who was disqualified after finishing first in the 2006 Tour, sent a series of e-mails to anti-doping and cycling federation officials in which he both confessed to his own long doping career and to that of many others as well.
According to Landis, the riders have figured out how to beat cycling's vaunted "biological passport," and his experience is that the Armstrong/Bruyneel teams were enthusiastic practitioners of systematic doping regimes.
Landis, who mounted an expensive I'm-not-guilty fight after his own suspension, is a quart low on credibility because of that. Those who scoff at his accusations say the charges are made out of spite for not being rehired by a top team and because his most recent, lower-level team was excluded from the Tour of California.
Wherever the truth lies, it does not necessarily lie in the blood samples collected by the UCI, cycling's international governing body. When the Tour drug testing was conducted by the French authorities (AFLD) in 2008, during a spat between the race and the UCI, there were six positive tests. Last year, amid rumors that teams routinely were told ahead of time about UCI testing visits or were allowed extra time before presenting themselves, there were no positive tests.
This year, however, as a result of the complicated turf war among WADA, UCI, and the AFLD, the French anti-dopers will be able to request specific targeted tests that will be carried out by the UCI, but with WADA observers making sure there are no leaks in the process. We'll see how that works.
More directly, it could be the law-enforcement authorities who make their presence most known. There are two border crossings in this Tour and, beyond that, ample opportunity for the cops to simply show up at selected team hotels or team buses for inspections. If Landis' description of the new doping methods are correct, maintaining a steady percentage of red, oxygen-processing cells in the bloodstream while avoiding detection requires almost daily microdosing of blood boosters or transfusions or both. He claimed that Armstrong once stopped the Postal Service bus on a lonely back road after a stage of the 2004 Tour and ordered every rider to get a transfusion while the driver feigned mechanical problems.
Stories like that have not exactly highlighted the run-up to this Tour, which is typically daunting; a 2,200-mile, three-week trek that includes long stages in both the Alps and the Pyrenees.
The harshest tests, it might turn out, will begin when the racing ends each day and the exhausted riders try to get ready for the next stage, all the while wondering whether a stern group of Frenchmen is pulling up to the hotel intending to prevent that.
Contact columnist Bob Ford at 215-854-5842 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/bobford.