Double down on pace of play, with no bluffing
Here’s an idea regarding pace of play (“Pros explain slow play: It’s the other guy,” Nov. 14): Part of the issue is that there really are times when the PGA Tour’s 50-second/40-second time allotment per stroke is not enough.
A possible solution is to follow the lead being used on some World Poker Tour events, to speed up basic play and also account for those occasionally tough, legitimate time-consuming instances. WPT players get a specific number of time-extension chips that they can use at their discretion. Adopt a similar policy for PGA Tour players.
First, survey the pros and determine how many times during a competitive round they really need to grind for several minutes. Find out whether it might be one, two or more times.
Second, strictly enforce the Rule of Golf time periods. A violation is a mandatory penalty. No discretion, period. Groups typically have a marshal or tournament representative, who could carry a stopwatch and give the player and/or his caddie a warning. Any complaint by a player would be an additional penalty. They can appeal later.
Third, give the players the requisite number of time-extension chips to cover those limited instances when they truly need more time.
Fourth, enforce the time penalties on TV, in big events, in front of the golfing world, when it matters and could cost a player a major championship. Make it an accepted and expected practice that time penalties will be instituted – regardless of the level of play. Slow play is a killer in sports, at all levels. Time violations should be no less of a rules violation than any other infraction.
DVR provides antidote to slow play
I found the solution for those of us who are concerned about slow play on the PGA Tour (“Pros explain slow play: It’s the other guy,” Nov. 14). The answer is simple. It’s the DVR.
At 4:30 p.m. Sunday, after watching a 1 o’clock NFL game, we watched the last nine holes plus the playoff of the RSM Classic in about 1 hour and 15 minutes. No banter between caddie and player, no remarking 6-inch putts, no commercials. Just real golf. And I have no idea, nor do I care, how long it took winner Charles Howell III to play those 11 holes.
And for those of you who think that a shot clock will work because other sports use one: Last week, I watched the last 52 seconds of the Wisconsin-Xavier basketball game. Wisconsin led by 10 points at the time and finally won by nine. But between timeouts and “unintentional” fouls, those last 52 seconds took more than eight minutes.
There’s a solution for that, too: DVR.
When slow play becomes must-watch drama
From John Fischer’s letter to the editor (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Nov. 16): Walker didn’t gain on the group in front of him and, after the ninth hole, he was told that he was disqualified. “The hell I am,” Walker said. “I came to play, and I’m going to play.” At this point, the officials had two police officers physically carry Walker off the course and threatened him with arrest if he returned. And that was that.”
I would be far more willing to pay to watch that than the Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson fiasco.
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