From the Morning Read Inbox readers respond to recent happenings in golf that could help with pace of play issues on the PGA Tour
Slow play on pro tours? Aw, it’s no big deal
I, for one, am not concerned about slow play at the professional level. No one comes into my office and hammers me about how I copy-and-paste columns in Excel with a mouse versus using shortcuts.
The issue at the pro level is that TV shows only four guys hit shots all day. Sometimes, when Tiger Woods is playing, it is only three guys. The pace of play shows up because TV does not create rapid-fire golf shots for the viewer. Viewers get turned off, or take a nap, perception of the game suffers, etc.
As for slow play on the course amongst us hackers, I see two things when I'm waiting to hit: People not putting out and people playing from the wrong tees, which creates more shots and tougher shots. Neither of those issues is caused by TV showing J.B. Holmes take 4 minutes to choose which club to lay up with.
Holly Springs, N.C.
Pros could learn a few things from kids
Two weeks ago, the American Junior Golf Association held a golf tournament for boys and girls in Naples, Fla. I volunteered to be a scorer/timer. My job was to sit at a designated green and, armed with a stopwatch, time each threesome that came through.
The first group that came through was not timed, but the stopwatch was started when the flag was put into the hole. I timed each of the following groups as they come through, until they put the flag into the hole. There were 8-10 staff members/rules officials, each of whom was in charge of 3-4 groups. They monitored each group's time by checking with us on our stopwatch time. There was a timer on Holes 2, 5, 8 11, 14 and 17. If any group got behind, the players were given a red flag. If they didn't pick up the pace, they would have been given a second red flag and one-stroke penalties. The staff members watched to determine whether one individual was the cause of the slow play.
I was very impressed by the association's emphasis on pace of play. Officials also made sure that proper golf etiquette and golf maintenance were followed.
I wonder if something like this could be used for the professional tours.
Fans ought to help prod players to giddyup
Attendees of PGA Tour events might be able to speed up slow play and have a little fun doing it.
If, say, 45 seconds pass after a player has arrived at this ball and it is his turn to hit, if hemming and hawing is ongoing, spectators could start repetitively and loudly chanting, “Hit the ball! Hit the ball!”
The player and caddie clearly would be put on notice that their pace is too slow.
Of course, such behavior would require tournament officials not to react in an over-the-top manner such as forcing said spectator(s) off the course.
Golf’s version of Pinstripe Bowl
I canceled my Sunday morning tee time so that I could watch the last round of the Women's British Open. I was not disappointed. But one part of the telecast made me think; it was the promos for the Solheim Cup and comments about the American team.
They talked about Morgan Pressel being on the American team. Seriously? She has won two LPGA events in her career, and hasn't won since 2008. And she's among the 12 best American players? How good can the European team be if it can't beat these Americans? No offense intended, but I will not cancel a tee time to watch Bronte Law play Morgan Pressel.
The Solheim Cup needs to go back to the drawing board. It should be an Asian team against a combined North American/European team. Jin Young Ko against Brooke Henderson, Lexi Thompson or Charley Hull would be worth watching. But to watch the continents with the second- and third-best players in the world go against one another is sort of like college football's Pinstripe Bowl.
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