DEAR MISS MANNERS: My question is how to respond to applause.
Golfers get it on every green, even if they have missed two putts. Some do not acknowledge it at all; some just raise a hand to the waist or even lower. The better ones touch the front of their cap or wave to the crowd, both rather classy gestures.
Most efforts are desultory and perfunctory at best. It’s clearly a bother to some, as if they’d rather not have any audience at all (perhaps to distract them). Some overdo it, I think.
I think that golfers are entertainers and should follow some rules. In a theater, actors bow and acknowledge applause until they leave the stage or drop the curtain. They know who is paying their salaries. Golfers seem ungrateful.
GENTLE READER: How entertaining golf is as a spectator sport, Miss Manners will leave to those more knowledgeable than herself. She agrees that, generally speaking, professional sports, like theater, are entertainment.
The recent invention of street applause -- for first responders and teachers -- is more akin to a traditional bow, and should be acknowledged as such (assuming those being thanked are actually present). But actors are not expected to take bows mid-monologue, and athletes, doctors and teachers cannot be faulted for concentrating on their game.
What to do, then, when the sport does not establish a time for accepting the trophy, or for protesting that the victory would not have been possible without your teammates, your mother, your significant other, your agent and your fans? A tip of the hat or raised hand seems a reasonable -- and grateful -- compromise.