Rory McIllroy won the recent Player Championship and took the occasion as an opportunity to make his opinions regarding the pace of play on the PGA Tour known.
In remarks picked up by the AAP, McIllroy said, “They don’t do anything about it … it’s become (an) epidemic.”
He seemed to walk that comment back a bit when he added, “It’s our livelihoods and people are going to take their time.”
The PGA changed at the beginning of the year to permit players to leave the flagsticks in at their discretion, but while that seems to have helped scoring, there are still players like J B Holmes and Bryson DeChambeau that seemingly wait for the grass to grow beneath their balls before they will hit a shot.
All the players could be accused of slow play, although some like McIllroy are observably faster than others are.
The issue affects us personally when we hit the links and would be happy to hack away but for the hacker ahead of us who is consulting a yardage book before he tries his two-metre put for a triple-bogey seven on a par three. After he blows that by, out comes the book again.
At the professional level, the touring pro could doubtless concoct a club menu in advance of a round naming the club he would use for his next shot. That is how good those blokes are.
The big delay seems to come in after the tee shots, where players wait until the other in the pairing has hit before even beginning the interminable conversation with his caddy about the distance, the wind, the shape of the shot and all the other things they rightly deserve to consider when playing for the stakes involved.
When it is the player’s turn, there should be a shot clock. Even if they were permitted 45 seconds, that would speed things up.
Major champion Brooks Koepka was far less diplomatic than McIllroy was in offering his opinion, when Koepka said, “No one (the PGA) has the balls” to penalise slow play.
Koepka, an American, would have said, “penalize.”