The USGA and the PGA Tour won’t enforce their own pace-of-play rules, but Augusta National officials should poke the tortoise
Finally, someone has written about Bryson DeChambeau and his tortoise-like speed of play at the U.S. Open (“With Bryson DeChambeau, it’s paralysis by analysis,” Sept. 29). Thank you, Dan O’Neill.
I know you are familiar with the USGA’s Rule 5.6 (“Unreasonable Delay; Prompt Pace of Play”) and the PGA Tour’s Pace of Play Policy. It’s too bad that not one commentator mentioned this during the final round of the U.S. Open broadcast. Why did no USGA official take action to enforce the association’s rules or the PGA Tour’s policy?
Early on Sunday, DeChambeau took an inordinate amount of time to make a putt, so I backed up the DVR and counted from the time it was his turn until he made the stroke: 108 seconds, or 1 minute and 48 seconds. It was more than a minute longer than the recommendation in Rule 5.6 and nearly a minute past the time permitted in the Tour policy.
I continued to watch and did not count the time, but my sense is that DeChambeau never hit a shot the rest of the day in less than 40 seconds, except for tap-ins, and even some of those were close, as he repeatedly looked at his green book. I wish on just one hole I had counted how many times he did that. Even using the one-minute criterion in the Tour policy, I believe there were repeated breaches.
Here’s hoping that the lords of Augusta show the way and put an end to this constant breaching of the Rules of Golf and the PGA Tour policy. All they have to do is announce that the Tour’s Pace of Play Policy is in effect for the tournament and will be strictly enforced.
Newport Beach, Calif.
‘Lighten up on DeChambeau’
According to the PGA Tour’s driving-distance statistics for the 2020-21 season, Bryson DeChambeau ranked 17th entering the previous week’s play. There are a number of fan- and media-favorite guys ahead of him. I’m not a DeChambeau fan, but I don’t dislike him. I just like guys such as Rickie Fowler, Pat Perez and Gary McCord.
The Morning Read guys need to lighten up on DeChambeau. Opening lines such as “Bryson DeChambeau is changing the pro game” (“Send It! With Alexis Belton,” Oct. 3) would leave the uninformed to think that DeChambeau is the longest driver on the PGA Tour. In fact, 16 players ranked ahead of him as of last week.
DeChambeau won the U.S. Open because he played better than anyone else in the field, which is what happens each week on the PGA Tour. The guy who plays the best each week wins.
The guys on the Korn Ferry Tour are bombing it, too. DeChambeau didn’t make it happen. Grit and determination by lots of players wanting to win made it happen.
Both sides of the penalty conundrum
Continuous putting is a good idea (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Oct. 1; Oct. 2). Also, no green books. If officials really want to speed up play, start doing penalties.
One rule that needs fixing is playing out of divots. Why are you penalized for hitting a ball into the fairway?
Boyne Falls, Mich.
Check the fine print
In their discussion last week, John Hawkins and Mike Purkey both agreed that PGA Tour players are independent contractors and have the right to choose the events in which they want to play (“Should PGA Tour require stars to play in fall?” Oct. 2). They can’t be forced to play in designated events.
But isn’t the most basic element of an independent-contractor arrangement a contract? Can’t that contract with individual players be negotiated that requires them to play in certain events (the recent Sanderson Farms Championship, for example) in exchange for the ability to play in other events (the Players Championship, for example)? I assume there has to be a written agreement with the players; otherwise couldn’t the IRS consider them to be employees?
The Tour has an extremely rich defined-benefit pension plan for its players. I assume the plan is covered by ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Do the Tour’s independent contractors participate in a pension plan that is subject to a federal tax and labor law that protects employees’ rights?
I assume also that the Tour has these issues covered. You don’t amass more than $2 billion in cash and Investments while maintaining IRS tax-exempt, not-for-profit status without having all of your bases covered.
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