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Who Should Govern Slow Play?
By mustang6560 on 2/2/12
The 2012 PGA Tour season is still in its infancy and the topic of slow play has already reared its ugly head. And unfortunately, it looks like it's going to stay a while because the PGA Tour doesn't seem to be very motivated to fix the issue.

But, what if slow play, like every other rule of golf, was left to the players to enforce?

Last week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, world number one Luke Donald witnessed Rory McIlroy breach Rule 13-2 of the rules of golf and immediately spoke up. A rules official was called over and Rory was awarded a two stroke penalty. What if slow play was handled the same way?
If golf is an honorable game dependent on the honesty and integrity of its players, it should be the players' responsibility to call penalties on themselves if they play slowly. And it should be the players' responsibility to reveal and penalize any slow play that they observe.
I like the idea of players helping governor slow play, however, I foresee a huge problem with the implementation of it. Slow play, unlike other rules, is subjective. What constitutes "slow" to one player might not be considered "slow" by another.

In my opinion, the only way the PGA Tour and professional tours around the world can fairly address the issue of slow play is to do it themselves. A tour official would need to stand by the green on every hole with a stop watch and if a group comes in behind the pace of play for the day they get penalized. The first time is a warning, the second time it is going to cost them a stroke.

But, at the end of the day, it's all wishful thinking. The day a player is actually awarded a penalty stroke for slow pace of play...

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photo by by InAweofGod'sCreation

[ comments ]
Mr_X says:
If a rules official has multiple conversations with a PGA golfer about slow play that will only exacerbate the problem because conversations take time. The penalty of an additional stroke will not solve the problem either. My suggestion is you give them simple warning. "Sir, you are currently 15 minutes behind pace. If you continue to move at a pace slower than the course, you will be required to skip a hole." When they are 20 minutes behind the pace of everyone else you force them to skip a hole or two. This speeds up the tournament and you have created a very powerful incentive for speeding up. If someone doesn't play all 18 holes they are disqualified from the event. If you don't finish you don't get paid!
bkuehn1952 says:
An interesting idea. Perhaps a better plan would be to keep track of each player's pace of play. Track them on the time it takes to hit a shot when it is their turn. Players starting times and groups for the first 2 days would then be decided by average shot times. The first groups off would have the three fastest players and the last would have the three slowest.

Every group would still need to keep pace and penalties would be assessed on groups that fail to keep up. Let's see if Kevin Na, Ben Crane and Jonathan Byrd like playing together at the end of the field.
legitimatebeef says:
Who really cares about PGA Tour slow play, besides it seems like its only a handful of players who are notoriously slow. It's no secret who they are, so deal with them individually. is what I say. Way more serious concern is slow play at the recreational level, if you want to talk about shrinking interest and lost revenue.
aaronm04 says:
The PGA Tour should set the example. If they don't have to worry about pace of play, why should the weekend warrior? I would even like to see more shots of pros repairing divots to help communicate to the golfing public that this is the way golf should be played.
gpickin says:
Funny thing, we were discussing this recently... and we mentioned it might be the technology and advertisings fault.

If people couldn't reach par 5s in 2, or "in their dreams" at least, then things might move quicker.
People wait to clear the green and then still end up 100 yards short.

Off the tee thinking that guy 400 yards out is in range is another thing, but still, when you go to get on the green, they're still there.

Maybe if the hole was bigger, people might clear the green faster LOL.

I have played 2 rounds as first group out lately, takes me and my brother 2 hours 20 mins for a full 18. Thats shooting 190-200 shots.
Next round, starting after the first one, takes 4 hours 20 mins.

There isn't an easy solution sadly
Trip says:
"bkuehn1952" is on to something. An "average playing time" could be calculated for each player, and then some undesirable consequence could be given if they fall into a slow zone. Hit them in the wallet, an incremental amount of their winnings are donated to charity...
CeeBee says:
Too much money involved for the PGA to seriously consider a penalty. Throw a $5 bill down and watch the pace of your foursome. Same thing.
joe jones says:
When I was a ranger I watched four of my best friends play a par three. They looked at the putts from all directions, plumb bobbed every putt, checked the cut of the hole to see what the grain was doing. It took 12 minutes for them to putt out and guess what. Nobody made a putt. Altogether too much emulating the PGA tour. When you putt, one of two things is going to happen. You will make it or not. Pick a line, take a stance and hit it.
Beekeeper45 says:
On the tour, players should be spoken to after the round. If its not better the next round, impose fines. As far as when Im with friends or my wife, it is either alternate shot or we play a modified stableford pretty smiple and everyone has a blast, stroke play isnt the only game in town......justsayin
Beekeeper45 says:
jcstoll says:
I kinda agree with legitimatebeef - why care about slow play on tour? Sure some amateurs might follow their example with excruciatingly long preshot routines, but hopefully peer pressure and rangers will get them to pick it up. For pub links golf, probably the bigger problem is just the sheer number of shots us amateurs take - some more than others. When you're spraying shots, it takes a lot more time to chase them down. If duffers just realized (or were educated) that they should take only a minimum amount of time to look (or just drop one right away) and that they don't really have to play the ball down every time - realizing of course that this is not officially allowed by the rules of golf - then pace of play would improve.
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