Holmes picks up pace? Not so fast
In all the discussion about J.B. Holmes’ dithering on the 18th hole at Torrey Pines on Sunday, no one seems to have noticed that he had been playing slowly throughout the entire round.
Holmes claims that he had gotten better with his pace of play. I beg to differ. Check the video. For his approach shots, he would get up to the ball, make four or five practice swings and you'd think he was going to pull the trigger. But, no, he'd back off, take another look, set himself up again and then finally take his shot.
And people wonder why the round took nearly six hours.
ShotLink could be source of shot clock
Apparently, ShotLink, which provides the shot data for every shot played in every round on the PGA Tour, also records the time required to play each shot. My sources tell me that much the same as strokes gained or lost relative to the field is computed, time gained or lost to play each shot relative to the field is also tabulated. This information is available only to the players and administrators, but based on recent events, it doesn’t appear to be well utilized in redirecting the transgressors.
Maybe it’s time for a shot clock. Easy math here: first to play gets a full minute on a clock that starts 10 seconds after he arrives at his ball. The second and third players get 45-second allowances, starting 10 seconds after the previous player’s shot. This is quite a lot of time as the third in the group has an allowance of three minutes to prepare from the time the first to play arrives at his ball.
As long as this allowance is, it would speed up play significantly.
The PGA Tour could use ShotLink data to impose significant fines or, less likely, strokes on the perpetrators. While many golfers cannot fathom the degree of difficulty of PGA Tour setups, especially on Sundays, what happened at Torrey Pines isn’t doing anything positive for their brand or in promoting this great game.
Glen Cove, N.Y.
(Bolling, a PGA of America member, is a former PGA Tour player who owns and operates Delivery Point Golf.)
Assign an official to each group on Tour
The PGA Tour could move the players around the course by having a walking official with each group, and to be there when a ruling is needed, instead of waiting for an official to ride over in a cart. Or, have one official available on each hole. There would be additional cost, but the tour management could afford it.
The official could speed up play, end these five- and six-hour rounds and the incident that took place on the 18th hole Sunday at Torrey Pines.
Schodack Landing, N.Y.
Give fans a say in slow play
I truly wonder why a pro who probably has hit a million balls over his time has such lack of commitment on something he has done numerous times under all conditions.
Perhaps we arm the watchers with mini air horns so they could release an abundance of noise any time the pros surpass an allotted time. Then the pro would have an excuse.
AJGA kids hardly set the pace
Why anyone would use the AJGA as an example for fast play is beyond me (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 31, http://bit.ly/2DTcO8o).
The rule that asks the first player who holes out to head to the tee is in effect because the players are so slow everywhere else on the course. The main culprit is college golf. Coaches teach players to walk 50 yards or more to examine greens before hitting a pitch shot; to look at putts from a hundred angles; to shoot every flag before a shot; and the list goes on and on.
Watch one of these kids squat three times to move a ball a quarter of a dimple before attempting a 3-foot putt and you will run to the parking lot in frustration.
Perry Hall, Md.
Woods merits the TV time
In response to Messrs. Hargrove and Comstock (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 31, http://bit.ly/2DTcO8o), I can say only that the great decider of whether or not Tiger Woods should be shown on TV more than other pros is the ratio of ticket sales and viewership when he is playing versus when he is not playing.
While not supporting Woods’ lifestyle in any way, I will continue to watch him play golf because he is good theater.
I have to think that a lot of people feel similarly.
La Quinta, Calif.
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