Published on May 25th, 2012 | by Tim Good0
Here’s how you fix Slow Play on the PGA Tour
They’re almost all guilty of it. PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA, Nationwide players across the board have been guilty of it. At one point or another everyone who’s ever played golf has been affected by it. Either by being the cause of it, or by being the victim of it, slow play has impacted the game across the world.
Recently in the pro tours there have been several dramatic examples of slow play and the tension that it brings. Kevin Nafamously wiggled and waggled and backoff shots while being heckled by ruthlessfans in the crowds. He knows he’s slow,and he says he’s trying to improve, but wedon’t realize how much pressure playersare under out there. I think we have adecent idea, sure we haven’t experiencedit, but we know they’re playing formillions of dollars and their livelihoods.
Here’s the problem with the current system, which as it stands right now issues a warning for the first offense, a one-stroke penalty and a $5,000 fine for a second, three bad times gets you a two-stroke penalty and a $10,000 fine and an unheard of four bad times is a disqualification.
Anyone know the last time a player was given a one-stroke penalty for slow play? Way back in 1992, to Dillard Pruitt who ironically now serves on the PGA Tour’s rules committee. So it’s been twenty years since anyone was actually penalized for slow play, and yet slow play has persisted as a problem. It’s obvious that the system isn’t really working. The second part that doesn’t work is the fines. $5,000 and $10,000. Really, that’s the fine? That’s pocket change for these guys. When the winners’ share of the purse is usually somewhere well north of $900,000 is 5-grand really enough of a penalty?
If the tour wants to eliminate slow play, they need to get serious about it. First offense is a warning, that’s fair. Things happen and sometimes it takes a long time to execute a shot. But beyond that, if it happens again the problem is the player, not the circumstances. Second offense should be a two- stroke penalty issued immediately with a $50,000 fine. Harsh yes, but I’d be willing to bet it would only take one player being hit with this one for it to have its effect. Say goodbye to wiggles, waggles, backing off of shots and examining putts with everything short of a plumb line.
To read more from Tim follow his golf blog, Life From The Short Grass.com