Kevin Na's 5 Hour Round
By mustang6560 on 3/25/11
It's no secret that Kevin Na is a sloooow golfer. But, how slow is too slow on the golf course?
Na sees ball and then contemplates the meaning of life. No golf shot deserves that much attention.

I kept a stopwatch on each of the 74 shots he hit Thursday. I wouldn't start the clock until he got his yardage and pulled a club from his bag for tee shots, iron shots or wedge shots. And I wouldn't press the start button until it was Na's turn to putt and everyone else had marked his ball or finished out.

There's no getting around it though: Na is sloooooooow. By the time the Na threesome reached the eighth tee box, a rules official was there waiting for them.
I understand the PGA Tour Players are playing for millions of dollars each week. But, I find it a borderline ridiculous that it took Kevin Na's group 4 hours and 46 minutes to play 18 holes. Together, Na's group, which included Chad Campbell and Paul Goydos, the three shot an eight over. Woot!

And I'm not the only one who feels this way. Many Tour players have voiced their frustration about some of their colleague's pace of play. If Bubba Watson was the commis, he'd pass out stroke penalties. If Kenny Perry was in charge, he'd schedule the Na's of the world last in the morning or afternoon so they wouldn't hold up the field. If Ernie Els had his way, he'd let caddies use rangefinders instead of having to pace off yardages.

The PGA Tour keeps a list of slow players and will fine a player $20,000 if his name makes the list 10 times. But, the Tour never publicize the fines so the player doesn't receive any sort of public humiliation.

What is the Tour actually doing to try and improve pace of play besides holding "pace of play" meetings. I don't think the Tour can/should assess penalty strokes - they'd get push back from the players. I think the simple answer is to fine players and make it public Monday after a tournament. I think this would send a clear message. You can be a good golfer and not take 1 minute and a half reading your putt. I have no problem with a round taking longer on Saturday, especially Sunday with the tournament on the line. But, on Thursday? The group in front of Na was a full hole in front before they teed off on No. 8. Yawn...

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[ comments ]
nickmomrik says:
Slow-playing pros are causing young players to think it's normal to play that way. I recently played behind a junior tour here in the morning. Some of the groups were a hole and a half behind.

It's rare to play a weekend round on a public course in the Phoenix area that is not in the 5 hour range. Back in Michigan we are much worse players, but at least we can play faster golf. I can't remember the last time I saw a ranger do anything on a golf course except drive around and look for balls in the woods or bushes. I think courses need to start pulling slow groups off the golf course after a warning and teach them a lesson.
mjaber says:
I don't think stroke penalties are in order. A couple DQs and the play will speed up on its own.
jcstoll says:
Why not impose penalty strokes? I'm in a regional amateur tour that has slow-play penalties. If your group is "out of position" before the 16th hole (e.g., the group in front is already off the green when your group steps to the tee of a par 4), an official will issue a warning. If your group fails to get back in position within 3 holes, each person in the group gets a 1-stroke penalty. Also, if your group checks in at the scorer's table more than 23 minutes after the group in front of yours, your group is DQ'ed. Pros don't have to chase balls all over the place like us normal humans. Plus when they hit astray, there's usually an army of people helping to find their ball. They have no excuse for slow play!
Michael Colucci says:
Slow play on television is a non-issue for a typical viewer. When Kevin Na steps on a green and goes through his dance of the seven veils, the director/producer cuts away to another player. They know to come back to him after he completes the sixth dance, finishes his last plumb bob, circles the putt, picks up his coin, coquettishly views the hole, takes two strokes (practice, that is) and then putts.
birdieXris says:
5 hours isn't too long to see, like you said if it were on a saturday or sunday - but even then they're playing twosomes aren't they? SO in that case, 5 hours is way too long. USGA pace of play policy is 14 minutes per hole. Over the course of 18 holes that's 4h 20m. That should be plenty of time to play a round of golf. 5 hours on a pro tour is just entirely too long.
Kickntrue says:
While I agree 5 hours is too long- I find the title of the article hilarious and jaded by where the author lives and plays (country club) golf. Anyone who has spent time in munis in any metro area knows that while 5 hours may be too long for golf- it's also called "the norm." I've played 6 1/2 hour rounds of golf on the weekend around DC. THAT is too long- 5 hous is the expectation. Pros though- ya, too long.
Torleif Sorenson says:
mtdewvirus and jcstoll are spot-on, although I'm sympathetic to mjaber's thought too. Slow play signs along the course are perfectly justified IMHO, and yanking slow players off the course on a crowded day is not excessive.

When Chris Kunitz torched Flyers' goalie Sergei Bobrovsky last night, did he stop and examine the goalie from four different angles? No. He just got in there and played the game. Frankly, a smart, speedy PGA Tour player could figure out how to make an opponents slow play work against that player.

People like Kevin Na threaten to make golf as boring as basketball, where it takes an hour-and-a-half to play the fourth quarter, with each team getting twelve timeouts, plus the TV commercials... yech!
Bryan K says:
I like it when rangers are circling the course looking for bottlenecks. I like it so much, I didn't even question it when a ranger asked us to let a group play through even though we completed our round in 3 1/4 hours and were waiting on them the last two holes because we had all caught up to the group that was on the sixth hole when we started.
cph2133 says:

Country club golf is longer than Muni golf on a busy day. Work talk, sales pitches, heavy drinking. As a caddy I've been on the bag for 6 and 1/2 hour rounds, it's enough to make you want to drop the bag and walk off without getting paid or tipped.

The other problem with country club golf is that often times guests will only play there a few times, and never have a chance to get on the course again. They soak it in, play every ball out (yes, even when they're playing 2 man matches, and they're putting for an 8 with their partner in for a par), and the members spend a lot of time showing off the course, telling them about every detail "Now you want to hit a high draw and land on the left side of the fairway here" (meanwhile I'm thinking "this 24 handicap will be lucky to make it to the fairway")

So yea, country club golf isn't faster than Muni golf, it's often times painstakingly slow.
Banker85 says:
i would go crazy, slow golfers are awful to watch and until this last tourn at Doral i never noticed hoe slow some are. It makes me change the channel. I figure yardage, wind elevation lie, pull a club, make one or two swing and setup then swing. maybe 2 minutes max once i reach my ball ready to pull the trigger. Thats why i like Fowler.
homermania says:
I was at the International tournament in Colorado a few years back and was really excited to follow Phil for a round. Unfortunately, he was playing with Ben Crane. Having to watch a pro play so slowly was torture.
Kurt the Knife says:

"dance of the seven veils"
nice reference, me gusta
larrynjr says:
I generally seem to be able to play an average length par 4 walking around 9-12 min. To me that seems reasonable but I've played some course that have signs stating 15 min. per hole but what they mean is 8 min. or less. That makes for a less than enjoyable / relaxing round for me. When the group behind is always hitting just behind makes for a stressful time for me. Another course I've played sends a new group to the tee every 4 min. That just seems insane to me. Even as bad as I am, I've never had trouble keeping up with the guys in their carts during league.
Kurt the Knife says:
prolly strategic.
Get all the competitor's all riled up waiting to play n losing their momentum n concentration n stuff.
Sux to be a dick like that.
stedar says:
I've noticed Asians take the longest to set up for a stroke and twice as long for a putt? They still miss, but it doesn't stop them from taking longer for the next one. I wonder if their driving (car) skills are part of that complex? Seems like it is not a personality trait but a culture thing ;-)
How to stop it - rules, so be it for speed of play. Penalties? DQ'd is tough, but fines seem fair. After all, time is money...
pennsafety says:
Agreed!!!!! How about when all four people in the group in front of you are looking for one ball that flew 50yds OB? After 10 minutes they wait for the guy to drop/hit and then they go to their ball. They end up 2-holes behind and I have to call the club house and ask them to deal with it before something ugly happens...!! I should be on some type of medication to control temper before I go out there!!
Bryan K says:
The thing that bothers me about pace of play rules is that sometimes, I have a bad hole. I hate having to look for a ball bad enough. We don't have to add penalties on top of it. I usually tend to keep up with the group in front of me, and if I don't, I'll let the group behind play through. But here's the deal. If it's busy, hitting up right behind me ain't gonna do anyone any good. I keep telling my regular playing partner that. He's always hurrying me when it's busy. Why? So we can wait longer on the next tee?
Banker85 says:
@BryanK: ya but its different for pros who line up shots back away practice swing after practice swing. its one thing to be slow cause of a bad hole but to be slow just to be slow is annoying.
bkuehn1952 says:
One of the root causes of slow play is that slow players are unaware that they are slow. Not on the Tour, mind you. Kevin Na and Ben Crane know they play slowly. I am talking about the guy that plays with me and 2 others on a regualr basis. It can be hard to get 4 people together for 4-5 hours who all generally get along. About the last thing one wants to do is insult a group member by accusing them of being slow. So the tortise is tolerated by the others for the sake of the group. All the columns written about how to speed up play miss the point because my friend the tortise doesn't think they are directed at him. I doubt he even reads them. In fact, he probably thinks he is a speedy golfer and wishes everyone else would pick up the pace.
bkuehn1952 says:
So I decided experiment with my theory that slow players are just unaware that they are the problem. Not with my friend the tortise, mind you. No, I figured it would be better to practice on someone else first.

My chance came one day when I was trailing a guy with two female friends. They would park their carts 50 yards short of the green to play their 6th or 7th shots. Then proceed to leave the carts there while they played out the hole, eventually strolling back to the carts 50 yards in front of the green. I very politely mentioned to the guy that they might find things a bit speedier if they drove the carts up to the green on the side where the next tee was located. (To Be Continued)
bkuehn1952 says:
After explaining this somewhat fundamental guide for improving pace of play, the guy was looking at me like I had just spoken to him in Mandarin Chinese. Eventually, he nodded and said thanks, he knew that already. Fortunately, he also told us to play through. Was my experiment a success? I would like to think that he accepted the advice and put it into practice. Still, a part of me believes they are still out on the course, walking the 50 yards back to the carts on 14.
briger says:
how far behind was their group than the group in front of them? i've seen kevin play in person (im sure many of you have) and if you've followed his group, you'll know that from tee box to the green, he's super fast. for sure he is slow on the greens but so are a lot of people.
you konw who's slow? aaron baddely. he really does contemplate life before he hits.
aglazier says:
Actually Baddely has a reputation for being a very fast player, especially on the green. Haven't you heard Johnny Miller gushing about how more players should putt like Baddley? One quick look, step up and putt.
KVSmith59 says:
Slow play just destroys my round...
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