From the Morning Read Inbox readers respond to recent articles surrounding the European Tour slow play fix
Slow round? Live with it. It’s good for you and golf
Let’s look at the slow-play issue from a practical standpoint.
On the PGA Tour: There are only a handful of players publicly complaining about slow play. Some of them (Brooks Koepka for example) are successful enough that they can rock the boat, and because of their stature, they’ll be heard. But the overwhelming majority on Tour are not complaining and, given the amounts of money they’re playing for, are thankful for what they’re doing for a living and would still be out there, not complaining, if rounds took six hours.
Golf is not the only professional sport dealing with longer times to play games. Remember when Sunday football doubleheaders were at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.? They’re now 1 p.m. and 4:30 because the 1 p.m. games are running longer. Remember when most baseball games ran a little over two hours? Now they average three hours or more. Greg Maddux used to throw 90-pitch complete games. Now pitchers throw that many in five innings. And let’s not even talk about the NBA.
Face the fact that there’s an insane amount of money at stake in professional sports, and players are going to put their well-being ahead of “good for the game.”
At our local club: Unless we are members of an A-plus country club with a membership waiting list, our clubs/courses cannot afford to turn away revenue. If a goal is to grow the game, the game has to accommodate the new kind of golfer – the one who wants to listen to music, admire distance over score and who views golf as a social event, not a competitive contest. The more time restrictions we put on these social golfers, the more we’re going to turn them away from the game.
If a round of golf takes as much as an hour longer than we think it should, live with it. Because there will probably come a time in our life when we wish we had an extra hour to spend on the course.
Euros hold winning ticket while PGA Tour dawdles
Alex Miceli, have you ever won the lottery? No? Did you buy a ticket? No? Then perhaps you should take this comparison and apply it to your article (“Euros' slow-play fix is no ‘game changer’,” Aug. 20).
The European Tour is doing something about the issue of slow play. What is the PGA Tour doing? At least the Europeans are trying something, anything, to address these 5-hour-plus rounds. Is it the best solution? Maybe, maybe not, but at least the tour is trying something.
Like winning the lottery, if you don’t make an effort to buy a ticket, you will never win 100 percent of the time. But by the simple act of buying one ticket, you now have a chance.
The Europeans have in a sense “bought a ticket” and now stand a chance of fixing a problem. The PGA Tour hasn’t even gotten out of the car to go into 7-11 and buy a ticket. Thus, the PGA Tour has done nothing and will make no changes to this issue. Neither will the Tour be the jackpot winner.
Kudos to Europe.
Kenneth C. Taylor
Fort Worth, Texas
Let’s hear it for European Tour
It is nice to see the European Tour doing something about slow play, even if it will have little impact and is somewhat unfair (“Euros' slow-play fix is no ‘game changer’,” Aug. 20).
The very fact that this issue continues to be in the limelight gives me hope that the ruling bodies in golf eventually will come together and develop a consistent and universal solution. Kudos to reader Chris Seyer, who pointed out that the "time par" system used by the USGA works and could be part of whatever system the golf powers eventually come up with (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Aug. 20).
Most importantly, we should continue to shriek and yell about slow play to anyone who will listen. It's only by concerted effort and discussion from a large number of concerned golfers that a final solution will be achieved.
PGA Tour should follow Euros’ lead and act
Enough talk and complaining of slow play. The Euros have decided to address it. It’s about time (“Euros' slow-play fix is no ‘game changer’,” Aug. 20).
My round time has diminished considerably just playing ready golf, but I am not a pro. This will hurt some more than others, both players good and not so good. If you think you can legislate a perfect remedy, you are wasting your time.
No matter what is done or not done on the PGA Tour, you will have some unhappy campers. Just do it, then adjust as needed. This could take several years to shake out the full solution. Get started.
Dennis A. Stone
Let touring pros pay for privilege to ponder
I would like to propose a compromise solution, and Morning Read has the platform and readers possibly to get this concept heard. Because televised golf is entertainment, why not make it possibly a bit more interesting and compelling to watch?
Every round of golf usually has some difficult, challenging shots that require more time and thought. Therefore, every player gets two free bad times per round to assess those shots.
Everything in life has a cost-versus-benefit component linked to it; hence, time is money. So, you then create a progressive system of “fees” for additional time based on the player’s previous adherence to time management and day of the tournament.
Thursdays are cheapest, and Sunday afternoon becomes a costly decision. Players are often making multimillion-dollar decisions on Sunday afternoons (considering endorsements and off-course income), so they should be allowed to purchase the time required to make life-changing decisions. Basically, it’s a bet or investment in themselves and their families.
It also solves another problem. It would give Steve Sands something to do now that he lost his FedEx tabulation job (“Sands caps error-free era in Tour playoffs,” Aug. 20).
‘If you are going to miss the putt, miss it quickly’
When I was a young assistant golf professional in Boston, I played in a U.S. Open qualifier with my boss, Charlie Volpone, the PGA head professional at Nashawtuc Country Club. I was nervous enough already and now was paired with not only my boss, but one of the best players ever to grace New England golf courses.
On the first hole, I successfully navigated my tee shot and second shot, but then had a 4-footer for par, over which I agonized for more than a moment. I missed the putt. While walking to the second tee, Charlie put his arm around my shoulder in what I assumed was a supportive gesture, but instead, he said, “Rick, if you are going to miss the putt, miss it quickly,” and we played on.
This is a bit of wisdom that I have carried with me since that day.
Laguna Hills, Calif.
(Oldach is the owner of Pro Shop Sports, which manages national accounts for a number of golf-equipment brands.)
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