I don’t know about you but when it comes to watching live golf, I tend to be a bit of a coward. While some bold as brass onlookers are more than happy to brazenly stand on the frontline right next to a player attempting a risky recovery shot, I’ll be way over yonder, peering on from behind the protective covering of shrub while darting nervously between holes like an Allied commando adopting the Anzio crouch on an under-fire beachhead.

Reporting on this Royal & Ancient game is riddled with occupational hazards. A stray ball flying here, a withering barb from a cheesed-off player there? It’s this constant sense of impeding peril that imbues my job with nervous frisson.

Casually standing amid the intense silence that once accompanied Colin Montgomerie hovering over a five-footer to make the cut, a sweetie-loving colleague of mine nonchalantly shifted a granny sooker from one tooth to another and it seemed to reverberate like a musket volley.

Or that’s what Monty thought anyway as he responded with the kind of devastating glower that could’ve melted a wrought iron rivet. Amazingly, said colleague lived to write another day.

The two golf spectators who were clattered by Rory McIlroy’s errant shots during the BMW PGA Championship over the weekend, meanwhile, presumably survived to tell a variety of tales too.

At times, the scenes at Wentworth on Saturday resembled the opening 20-odd minutes of Saving Private Ryan as one female fan was left in agony after getting hit on the wrist and another ended up bloodied and bandaged having been cracked on the head.

Amid the awkward apologies, strained joviality and pained smiles through clenched teeth as McIlroy sheepishly engaged with those he had left bruised and battered, there was a serious side to affairs; the lack of the cry “fore” to warn of these incoming golfing missiles.

This is hardly a new talking point but the fact it continues to get significant coverage should be used to enforce a change in behaviour. When asked in the aftermath of that crash, bang, wallop round why he hadn’t shouted “fore”, particularly on the 18th, McIlroy responded by saying that he didn’t think his drive would travel that far.

To many, that was a fairly limp response. When in doubt it’s usually natural to let out a shout. Not in the professional game, however, where fortuitous ricochets and rebounds off the unsuspecting public are gleefully accepted as a timely preventative measure to stop miscued shots veering further off line. A cynically shameful approach, yes, but one that is par for the course in the cut-and-thrust of the upper echelons.

Basic golfing courtesy can often go flying out of the window in the pursuit of success and bad habits tend to trickle down. Some will say that a gallery 300 yards down a fairway will not hear a shout but that’s not really the point. They’re probably not very likely to see the lazy, common practice of sticking an arm out left or right either when a shot hurtles off line.

There is a school of thought suggesting that players or caddies should report other players for not shouting “fore”, just as they would with any other breach of the rules. You play golf in the spirit of the game but the spirit of human kindness and the duty of protecting others is often missing.

In the early evening on Friday, my Scottish colleagues and I ventured forth to watch Bradley Neil play his final few holes. On the 17th tee, Neil’s playing partner, Daniel Im, plonked a drive right and casually turned away. It was left to Neil to deliver a hearty yelp of “fore”.

When the young Scot’s own drive deviated from the straight and narrow he swiftly bellowed another warning. Given the time was about 7.30pm, this particular three-ball was not being trailed by a cast of thousands. Whether you’re in the marquee pairings or those groups followed by one-man-and-his-dog, however, simple golfing etiquette should still be applied.

Neil was to the fore. It’s a shame some of the game’s biggest names don’t set a similar example.