This past week’s 5 1/2 hour death march in the final round at the Valero Texas Open once again drove home the obvious point to nearly everyone but Commissioner Finchem, the Slowskys look like Usain Bolt compared to the guys with the white pants and the da Vinci yardage books.
Tight pin positions, 20 m.p.h. winds, and threesomes are no excuse for grown men taking 30% too long to walk five miles and make about 70 swings. Slow play is ruining the game. It is turning off people who don’t want to spend five hours watching the final round on Sunday or the round of the group in front of them every other day of the week.
The answer to this problem is simple…..throw a flag on them…..25-yard penalty for delay of game. Seriously, institute a 45-second clock that begins as soon as the previous player’s ball comes to a stop. If a guy exceeds the allotted time before he starts his actually backswing, a sideline official tosses a yellow flag in the air and proceeds to relocate the offender’s ball 25 yards farther back in a lie of similar or worse difficulty. Bet having to hit two clubs more will get his attention.
If it happens on the green the ball is moved 15 feet further away from the hole on the same line. You will see less needless ball realignment and triple going to the green crib sheet and probably more putts being made.
Using the Strokes Gained Charts it won’t take these guys long to figure how many shots these delay of game adjustments are costing them. Shots are money on the Tour and I can assure you a few embarrassing penalties of this sort and all the guys will be playing like Trevino with a leaky bottle of hot sauce in his back pocket.
What will actually happen is the pros will start preparing to play their shot before it is their turn which is what we tell our fellow amateurs they ought to do to speed up their play. When those amateurs see this example on the tube on Sunday’s maybe it will finally strike home that faster play is just a matter of better choreography.
As Arnie likes to say, “While We’re Young!”