February 15th,2014

Slow play....

~~Pace of play is hardly a new issue in golf, it’s been suffocating the game for over a decade actually two decades on the PGA Tour. It stems from a lack of administration and leadership.
But the biggest problem is the knock-on effect it has on the amateur game so again I ask the question, why isn’t anything being done about it?Last week on the PGA Tour many players aired their frustrations as play meandered along at Northen Trust Open at Riviera over the first two days.
This tweet from a PGA Tour player summed it up best, “Ok. 5 hours to play 16 holes today… do we have a pace of play problem on the PGA Tour??”
Five hours for 16 holes and not one player gets penalised or fined for slow play, are you for real?! Why do officials constantly turn a blind eye to one ?
One player, Guan Tianlang, has been penalised for slow play in the past 20 years on the PGA Tour. He’s that 14 year-old wunderkind amateur from China at last years Masters Tournament. The same event he became the youngest to make the cut in, but only just.The last professional to get pinged was Glen Day way back in 1995.I know that are players on the PGA Tour which are very slow; for example Kevin Na who It takes him two hours and a half to watch a 90 minutes  football game between Arsenal and Liverpool.The argument, which gets used most in the players defence, is “they’re playing for millions.”
While I understand every shot counts, if they were forced to play in a certain time limit, they would. It’s as simple as that.
Two-shot penalties or significant monetary fines would hurt, even for the wealthiest among them. The best in the world are the fiercest of competitors.
But the biggest problem is the flow on affect to the Golf Clubs and  recreational Sunday golf game. Let me tell you the cancer this has created at the amateur level. One of my members I would not drop any name here we were watching last season a PGA Tournament at our golf club, I think it was a “Major” he turn to me and says; “Demi, I think I see my problem and my playing friends when we play golf tournaments at Lighthouse GC, we play too fast”. I looked at him and replied;”No you don’t, even if you play in three hours, you don’t play too fast. To be honest I can’t remember the last time I have seen at our golf club any foursome which played 18 holes in 4 hours. I have to confess as well that; “when I play with Gelu Matei,George Tchouklev and Florin Sagarceanu in FOG it takes us 5 hours as well".
Pre-shot routines and lining putts up from every angle is fine when you can break 70, most club golfers struggle to break 80.
The greatest of all-time Jack Nicklaus has been working closely with the PGA of America to implement 12-hole golf play.At Lighthouse Golf Course is great because the 12th hole is exactly one minute walk to the Hotel and the "Whisky Bar".I personally think more people from USA,Australia,Great Britain, Ireland and developed Europe would return to the game, especially if it only took three hours or less.
Two things need to happen for slow play to be dealt with once and for all. One is acceptance of the problem. The other is taking action to fix it.Sadly, Golf’s administrators don’t have a great track record of being the swiftest of workers.In the meantime, maybe the PGA Tour should change its slogan to ‘These Guys Are Slow’.
Sarcasm….. what sarcasm???