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Golf can no longer be slow on the uptake

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Iain Carter | 12:24 UK time, Monday, 21 May 2012

As Colin Montgomerie was supporting a radical idea to speed up slow play, Doug Brecht - an official who barely stirs the mercury in the thermometer of fame - was becoming golf's newest hero.

The LPGA rules man took a huge step in imposing a genuine penalty to punish the malaise that is the biggest blight on the game.

It came in Sunday's semi-final of the women's Sybase Matchplay Championship between American Morgan Pressel and eventual champion Azahara Munoz.

Brecht's intervention to award a hole to Munoz to punish her tardy opponent undoubtedly influenced the eventual outcome of the match, making it all the more significant.

His action will cheer an ever-growing list of top names calling for more draconian action to speed up play. In recent weeks Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods and now Montgomerie have called for scoring penalties to be imposed on golf's slow coaches.

Monty was giving the most outspoken criticism of the game's failure to deal with slow play on the same day Brecht made his move at the knockout tournament in Gladstone, New Jersey.

Spain's Azahara Munoz won the Sybase Matchplay Championship on Sunday. Photo: Getty

Pressel and Munoz had covered the front nine of their match at a typically pedestrian pace and were duly told they needed to speed up. Two holes later they were put on the clock.

Then Pressel won the 12th with a par to go three up. Brecht's stopwatch showed she had taken two minutes and nine seconds over the three strokes, which was 39 seconds too long.

Before they could tee off at the next he imposed the statutory penalty - loss of hole. There was no final warning and no fine, just a punishment that genuinely hurt.

Instead of being three holes ahead, the US player was only one up and her Spanish opponent was back in a match she went on to win.

Ironically Munoz had been playing the slower golf but Brecht should be congratulated and backed to the hilt for taking action that should serve as a precedent for the rest of the game.

"I would clamp down harder than we have been doing," Montgomerie told me. "There has got to be a deterrent. The only thing we can do is impose shot penalties. We have to stop talking about it and start to action the only proper deterrent.

"The game is getting slower every year. Five hours for a round is the norm and it is ridiculous. There is no excuse for a round of golf taking more than four hours as a three ball."

The 2010 Ryder Cup captain was speaking after being part of a relay team that set a new British record for completing the fastest 18 holes. The team of 10 players managed it in 10 minutes 53 seconds at the Golf Live event at the London Club in Kent.

It was an entertaining gimmick far removed from the competitive game, but there were enough quality shots to show what is possible when players are up against a stopwatch.

And this is relevant to the most revealing aspect of the Pressel controversy which came in Munoz's response. "She lost the hole because she was slow, I wasn't," said the Spanish Solheim Cup star. "I was slow before, but not when the clock was on."

This reveals the heart of the problem. Players have two paces of play, one that is snail-like and then a faster version for when they are being timed.

How about we just stick to the speedier mode?

For that to happen players have to be clocked from the start of their rounds, meaning referees would be required for every group. It would be a radical step but when it was put to Montgomerie he agreed that it needs to be taken.

"I would advocate that entirely. On the clock from the word go, so that we don't get to the stage where the last group is taking an hour longer than the first group," the veteran Scot said.

"Why wait until there is a problem and then put them on the clock?"

Whenever I have suggested such a move to Tour officials they have baulked at the cost of potentially employing more than 50 referees. This point was put to Montgomerie and he swiftly interrupted.

He added: "Can we afford to lose sponsors? Can we afford to lose television viewers? Can we afford to lose radio listeners? No we can't. A referee would be cheaper than losing a sponsor."

The eight-times Order of Merit winner even agreed that the extra officials should be funded effectively from a prize money levy by taking a slice off the winner's cheque to finance the scheme.

"Why not? It would encourage faster play. Any business, and this is a business, has to be proactive. If you are reactive you are too late," Montgomerie said.

This week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth is unique among full-field regular European Tour events because there is a one-tee start. All 156 competitors begin on the first hole which means those off last will be finishing at dusk. The same applies at the Open Championship.

Year on year those rounds seem to finish in darker conditions because they are taking longer and longer, damaging what should be fantastic spectacles.

Action needs to be taken. They daren't be as radical as Monty is suggesting, but at least Doug Brecht has had the courage to take a mighty step that, if supported by the game's bosses, will surely concentrate a few of the slower minds in the game.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Couldn't agree more. The last open I went to at St Andrews you would see a shot every 10 minutes or so.

    Not the best value for a £60 ticket.

  • Comment number 2.

    I don't think anyone could disagree with this. The only thing I would say is that (except for the final few minutes) perhaps it's not such an issue for television where you can just cut away to another shot somewhere else on the course.

    It's television (and by extension the sponsors) who provide the money so I guess they'd want to have a say.

    Anyway, I'd be happy to be paid as one of Monty's timers :-)

  • Comment number 3.

    You do not need 50 referees just RFID (a radio chip)on every players bag and as they reach each new tee (it clocks them in), if they are ahead of time no penalty, if they are behind time a penalty is added to their score.

    The R&A should also ban any caddy helping to line a player up, adds minutes to the round and should be a skill the player is able to do.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm not a big golf follower (just for the majors) so I don't know if it would work, but would it possible to tell the players they have to complete the 18 holes in a set number of hours and mins. So you would only need to start the clock as they t-off from the first and then stop the clock once they putt the last hole. Then if they are over the time limit, they would get a stroke penalty which reflected the amount of time they were over. The players would then be responsible for their own time keeping and you would only need to employ a time keeper at the start and one at the end.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think for the scoring system to work there must be scorers with each group with a means of communicating to a central scoring system. If they time stamp every time a player takes a shot and which player is next to play then you have a record for the complete round, with details of which player is taking too long.

    A couple of ideas that hopefully shows it is not a difficult problem to solve, should the Tours wish to.

    Is the real problem that the players are in fact The Tour and their committee really end up guiding the administrators, so the will is not really there?

  • Comment number 6.

    We go back to the Kevin NA incident with this blog and maybe if he was punished for his blatent and purpose led slow play he may have teached him a lesson not to do it again!

  • Comment number 7.

    It is an interesting to look at the 'time restriction' aspects of certain games. Rugby league had its 6 tackles, forcing play (yes I know it is not time, but you understand the point). Basketball has its 30s shot clock. I think water polo has limits. Rugby Union is introducing a time limit for place kicks - the jury is sceptical on that as the best way forward.

    American football has the timing of aspects of play down to a fine art - and you can only give the lawmakers credit for acheiving a great balance over time.

    And so back to golf... I have watched both live and TV golf enough to know that slow play can be a feature of tight games but also a tactic used by one side. The tactic aspect is what the rules of the other sports are trying to contain. I fully support the actions of the umpire in what I perceived as a tactic, BUT... do we want golf to go down the route where you have a statutory 20s countdown from addressing the ball, or a 1m countdown from arriving at the ball?

    I just can't see it and and can only see more gamesmanship from opponents, and the crowd, as well as live coverage media talking up situations. I would suggest the game (the R&A?) consider players be penalised on the lines of crickets "Slow over rate" rather than immediate and game-defining penalties. In general, that will speed the whole game up, but still allow the nuances of taking your time in some situations to occur.

    (I think football is a much worse culprit in terms of timewasting, and should adopt an external start/stop clock asap.)

  • Comment number 8.

    I was delighted to read this article and see that this all too common issue is being brought to the forefront of the game. We have recently seen the comments about Kevin Na at the Players championship and his idiosyncratic preparartions to hit his golf ball taking up so much time and being warned. I attempted to watch the matchplay final on Sunday and turned off as it was taking a 2 ball nearly 5 hours which included putts being conceded. To see that some official has taken punitive steps is very refreshing and would add another telling argument for this "disease" to be eradicated. I am a handicap club golfer and despair at the length of time it is taking for club golfers to play a friendly 3 or 4 ball game and I think it is significant that the professional role models set a precedent for this behaviour, it needs to be stopped now at all levels or the sport will be the loser

  • Comment number 9.

    This is definatly an issue, not only in the professional game either. The only thing is when you are playing in your monthly medal there are not hundreds of people to tell you exactly where your ball went. The RFID chip is defiantly a good idea, it could also be implemented at an amatuer level as well for each 9, and then lost balls, or searchs for lost balls could be recorded on the card.

  • Comment number 10.

    Ian an interesting blog and it seems the pros are behind getting something done. The trouble with slow play in the pro game is it breeds slow play throughout the rest of the game. I watch people playing alone on the course taking an age to line up a putt that they invariably miss and for what purpose. Then the guys who take that many practise swings that by the time they pull the trigger they are so confused with what they want to do they duff it 10 yards. Its a joke and not everyone can afford to give 5 hours to complete a round.The other thing they should do in the pro game is if a group is playing slow hold them up and let the group behind through disturb their game as they are disturbing others.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think this is a great move, but I don't understand why there has always been such a problem finding an appropriate penalty. For a 3-ball on the pro tour, if they are not round in 4 hours everyone in the group gets a 2 shot penalty. No extenuating circumstances. A 2-ball should get round in 3 hours 40 mins max. Simple.
    It's a bigger issue for us recreational players where many seem to have forgotten that they should let the next group through if they have lost a hole. Slowest round I ever played was at TPC Sawgrass: 5 hours 45 mins! Too many players taking it way too seriously!

  • Comment number 12.

    Yes, come on, get a move on for heaven's sake.

  • Comment number 13.

    We tackled slow play at Worcester by making players add time they finished their round on their score cards. suddenly the average round was below four hours, acceptable

  • Comment number 14.

    Good Blog Iain. Its a good debate this and something should be done. Fair play to Doug Brecht for his actions.
    i agree with daveyboyfletcher about it breeding slow play thoughout the game. I played in a competition last week and the round took 5 hour 15 minutes and it was mostly due to one guy in my group taking forever. It was so boring and it puts me off playing the Saturday Competition.
    Monty is right, a round of golf should never take more than 4 hours ever!

  • Comment number 15.

    I've been a member of a golf club every year since 1963 (nearly 50 yrs) and I've played to county standard. When I was growing-up, 3 hrs was considered a long round, 2 and a half sharpish. In the 80's with more TV coverage, revival of Ryder Cups(s), higher profile for golf etc., the 3 hrs started becoming 3 and a half then 4. (Usually due to 20 handicappers studying 12" putts for 2 mins and 10 practice strokes) All the while, these longer rounds were becoming "acceptable". Clubs, desperate for paying members, alowed complete novices to join, who had no concept of rules, etiquette or the speed of play - how often do players look for an obviously lost ball for (more than the allowed) 5 mins before even thinking of waving those behind through? So, the 4 hrs drifted on and now a 4ball betterball takes 5 hrs and so this has now become "acceptable". Hopeless amateurs have also watched Woods/Faldo et al taking an eternity over shots and feel it is their duty to do the same on a Sunday morning.
    I have always said, and still stick to this: 3 hrs for 18 holes = 10 mins per hole. If you can't play a hole of golf in 10 mins, you shouldn't be on the course - and that applies to pros with caddies as well. Rant over!

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm not certain it would change television audiences dramatically. Obviously most TV pictures will have a variety of shots to show so you won't be stuck watching one guy take 90 seconds over his shot.

    I'm sure it will annoy other players and fans at the course much more.

    But yes, it does seem like this is something that has been getting mentioned for years without something happening. I agree that timekeepers with every group is expensive and if you brought it in for say a year - there is no guarantee the results would be retained when they dropped out again.

    Perhaps have a couple of cameras fixed on one or two holes, but don't say what hole. Someone in a box can time the guys coming through and anyone found to be taking too long is told on the next tee he has a 1 stroke penalty.

  • Comment number 17.

    Bilo last year I was asked the question by who I did not know at the time was the Lady Captain how come you dont play in the competitions at the weekend my reply was short and to the point unlike the competitions I have a life.( 5 hours is the norm thats 2 hours too long for me)

  • Comment number 18.

    Edders - a bit classless singling out '20 handicappers' and 'complete novices' as the main culprits. Is that why there is such a problem on the 'PROFESSIONAL TOURS'?

    Totally negates anything relevant you may have had to say in your post.

  • Comment number 19.

    It's interesting that a female player was punished. One wonders if the men have sufficient clout through sponsors, media coverage, and profile to avoid being clamped down on. I have seen some truly embarrassing examples of their tardiness (not mentioning any Cranes).

    Having said that, I would rather watch slow but good professional golf, than rushed mediocre golf. I've been to Wentworth before, and also seen a couple of European Seniors Tour events, and have always been too enchanted by the skills on display to care if play was slow or not. And I find Sky's incessant ad breaks far more irritating and disruptive than the pace of players.

  • Comment number 20.

    I agree, high handicappers are not always the main culprits. I play in a society where one of the best players is also the slowest. He's been fined for it several times!

  • Comment number 21.

    Totally agree, slow players should be punished with lengthy bans, starting with Kevin Na. He WAS a disgrace last week.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    @15 totally agree, I started playing as a junior in the mid eighties and in the summer would turn up for about 9 and could easily manage 36 holes sometimes 45,have lunch and still be home for tee at 5:30 when my dad came back from work, this also included me cycling home.

    Unfortunatley like BILO@14 says get to Saturday and it seems to take forever, put a card in someones hand you automatically need to add a minimum 1 1/4 hours,BUT the Pro's should not take all the blame for this as IMHO Ibelieve most golf clubs concentrate on the medal format of gold instead of stapleford or bogey competitions,were if you can't score on that hole you put the ball in your pocket and walk to the next tee.

    I bet most of us have played with someone who has taken at least 3 shots in a bunker followed by 3 putts, insisting they putt out for an 11 but tell you it was only a 7

  • Comment number 24.

    The problems here highlight the time taken over a shot (or collective time for the shots on a hole) nit the time taken for the hole i.e. between arriving at the tee and departing the green. Also (as admitted in this case) the person who has been the slower throughout the round is in the end not the one penalised.
    I admit to being a quick player, but when playing with much slower players it always seems as if I am trying to make up time for them if ever out of position on the course. In other words they do not speed up walking between shots, over their shot or heaven forbid play out of turn if someone has splashed out of a bunker and is just outside them (strokeplay of course). They know that nothing will be done, there will be no penalty and have seen this happen at all levels.
    If you are near the back of a field in a 36 hole tournament now you are straight back onto the first tee (normally behind time) but those who cause the initial hold up have time for break.
    I know there are sometimes circumstances which cause a slight delay but slow play is one of the biggest problems we encounter on a daily basis in golf and something needs to be done and it needs to be done quickly and filtered down from the top of the game through all levels

  • Comment number 25.

    @ #15

    I agree entirely. Even the acceptable 4 hours for a fourball is far too long and entirely avoidable. It is certainly a generation thing and I don't mean the older players take longer, at my club there is a group of 20 or so players who all gets their names on the timesheet to be first out every Sunday, between 6.30 - 7.00am - why? So they can get out ahead of the "imaginary pro" younger fellas who look at every putt from each side, backwards and forwards. These older players range from 55 up to 80 years old, they usually finish in 2.45 - 3.00 hrs. Puts the younger players to shame in my opinion.

  • Comment number 26.

    I've stopped watching golf on TV a few times recently as a player agonizes for ever over a relatively straightforward shot. These players should generally be good enough to walk to a shot, have a quick check with their caddy and then hit it.

  • Comment number 27.

    Very interesting article and appropriate that action was taken for slow play. Now a precedant has been set by Brecht, which I hope other referee's will now adopt. However, in the recent PGA, the third round leader whose name escapes me, should have received a similar penalty. I thought that once he had address the ball, brought the club back a few times and then swung the club over the ball, that was deemed a shot and therefore he should have received a stroke on top of a penalty for slow play. Many of the professionals in that tournament were quite open about this player taking too long to play a shot.

    @11 For the amateur, the time set for a four ball completing 18 hours is 4 hours and 15 minutes. In a 3 ball, the time is 3 hours 30 minutes. Within the professional game, the time for completing 18 holes for a 3 ball should be set for 3 hours. After all they are longer hitters and more accurate most of the time!!

  • Comment number 28.


    Totally sexist. Was going to complain about this but that would just get the comment removed rather than commented on!

    In my experience the slowest players now are junior and younger hotshot members (as they take their timings from their TV heros) and most of the ladies are actually a lot quicker than the gents I play with or behind.

  • Comment number 29.

    Just a quick observation,

    I wouldn't mind following Ms Munoz round the golf course for 5-6 hours, it,s a far prettier sight than what you see on our greens !!!!!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    Simplest answer actually comes from 3 day eventing. The event course has a time limit, penalty points apply for every second over the allotted time.

    Now I know in golf you could have an issue of one slow player costing another because they are grouped with that blanket approach, but it is still better than current.

    Not least if a player at 9 under wins the open as he was in, in the allotted time against the other player who is also 9 under but slow, no need for extra holes then. Bet you wouldn't have a slow player in the game the moment it costs them money that way.

  • Comment number 31.

    @28 NHB

    I wondered how much contoversy that comment would make,but I'm glad you haven't complained as it will be interesting to see what reaction it gets over the blog

    P.s I agree I should not have just mentioned women,juniors OAP's and totally clueless should also have beeb added to point number 2

  • Comment number 32.

    Welcome back Manina see your hol has not dampened your taste for the lady golfer.

  • Comment number 33.

    @15 I dont think you can fairly lay the blame on a certain handicap, the problem stems across the board of all abilities.Slow play rears its head in many different ways
    Too many pointless practice swings.
    Taken an age over a 5 foot putt that means nothing.
    walking so slow that you grow a beard.
    people who waste ages looking for a ball they will never find.
    poor forward thinking and not knowing your yardage.
    Failing to leave your bag/trolley ready to move on to the next hole.
    Not actually having a clue that the people behind you are playing faster and then not letting them through.
    Just a few of the many annoying traits of some people on the course.

  • Comment number 34.

    @32 dbf
    I thought if I mentioned foursomes some people might have taken it the wrong way !!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 35.

    Slow play is an issue in many sports and can be, for example in snooker, be a legitimate tactic. To regulate this in golf, how about allowing each player an amount of time to complete his round but on a chess-clock basis. This would allow players to use more time for tricky shots and to slow things down when they need to, but with the knowledge that they will have to make up the time with faster play elsewhere.

  • Comment number 36.

    @15 Edders....what you said is spot on. I can remember being a junior playing 2 rounds in a day and still being home for mid afternoon.
    At my club if i go out on my own i can play 18 holes in about an hour and 45 minutes if nobody is in front of me. Just get up and hit it!

  • Comment number 37.

    i dont want to annoy the higher handicappers but i tend to agree with some of the comments. I have played with a few lads who are poor 25 handicappers and they are taking ages getting exact yardages etc thinking they can hit a perfect shot when the reality is they just cant hit those type of shots.
    i play golf socially now after lots of competitive golf in my younger years and i dont usually mind playing with high handicappers but recently i cant stand it. I am a 2 handicapper and in the competition last week on a par 3 of 185 yards into the wind i hit a 4 iron onto the green. A 27 handicapper i was with said " oh its a 4 iron into the hole is it? " he preceded to come up about 90 yards short! i am getting tired of high handicappers thinkiny they can hit shots like low handicappers and Pro's. Why cant they just accept their ability and enjoy their own standard!
    Rant Over!!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    Couldn't agree more with this blog.

    I was only able to watch about 20 minutes of the matchplay final on Sunday and in that time saw McDowall take at least 5 minutes to decide which wood he would hit to lay up on the 16th, the camera pans across to Coelsarts to nearly miss him hit his 2nd shot, back to McDowall to scan his chip to the green from all angles for another few minutes to then hit a very average shot and miss the putt for a half. I then watched the Byron Nelson that night and it was more of the same, painful and switched over to the cricket highlights which were more exciting and got to see more action.

    I love my golf and play to a reasonable standard but other than the majors I have better things to do than watch the pro's take 5 hours plus to play a round. At least at the players the sky commentators were prepared to comment upon it but until something is done to bring it back to nearer 4 hours for these guys (stroke penalties can be the only way) then the game will lose sponsors as people start switching off. As someone has mentioned in an earlier post the kids at all clubs are now copying them by way of studying putts and shots from everywhere.

  • Comment number 39.

    @bilo 36
    Thanks for the appreciation, although my post about being a junior was @23, and I'm not Edders !!!!

  • Comment number 40.

    #15 Edders - Odd that, I would say it's the complete opposite. I'm a 20-handicapper, I hardly ever take more than one practice swing and utilise the time whilst others are putting to recce my putts. Of course that might explain why I'm a 20-handicapper!

    In my experience it's the old gits who are desperately trying to con themselves that their golfing powers aren't waning that take the longest time.

    The old gits should be banned from the course at the weekends (except for competions I suppose) - If they're retired they've got all the rest of the week to play!

    In case you hadn't guessed - I'm joking!

    If you have a problem with novices, hadn't you (or your club) thought about educating them?

  • Comment number 41.


    Firstly I don't think it's fair to clock each shot, but the overall round. A player could take 15 seconds to prepare for a chip and 45 for a putt etc. The average over round would be fairer than a particular hole. Who could blame someone taking an extra 10 seconds preparing the tee shot at the 17th @TPC!

    Secondly, should everything need to be recorded, I know I'd volunteer to ghost a top pairing/trio with a stopwatch! I'd just have to remember to not get caught up in the golf ;)

  • Comment number 42.

    On the tours the solution should be simple. Group 1 is given a tee time (lets say 9am) and is required to finish their round by 1pm (4 hours is ok...?). This and every subsequent group has to be ready on each tee at a specified time or within 2 minutes of the next fairway/green becoming "clear" whichever is later. There are already marshals on the tees of each hole so this is a no cost option. This solution would prevent people playing behind a slow group from being penalised and could be implemented using RFID. 1 stroke penalty for every member of a group that misses a timeslot - disqualification if 2 timeslots are missed in a tournament. Considerations can be made (and easily implemented with mobileapps) for injury (to player or audience) or moving an obstacle - this can be judged by the existing on-course referees.

    One thing that really slows play are referee adjudications - these seem to take forever and in many cases are motivated by a desire to gain an edge or relief from a poor shot. This could be built in to the system above. Not complicated and may actually create some excitement. Imagine - a speed golf tournament when the round had to be completed in 2 hours and you had to be on the tee within 30 seconds of it becoming clear... many new golf formats.

  • Comment number 43.

    #37 Bilo - I am a high handicapper and what you wrote doesn't annoy me :-) I am aware of my own ability but am optimistic enough to think I can improve - To do that I'll get some lessons, get some time on the range and go out and play some friendly rounds with players of a similar ability.

  • Comment number 44.

    I agree with some of the posters that slow play is spread pretty evenly between all ranges of handicaps, however the thing that infuriates me the most is when you get stuck behind a group of high handicappers who on most occassions hit drives of about 200 yards yet insist on waiting for the green to clear some 250-300 yards away and then duff it in front of them!

    I would consider myself a fairly quick player but as others have pointed it out, I always find myself trying to compensate by playing even quicker for the slow members of the group who always seem oblivious to the group behind.

  • Comment number 45.

    Regarding 22 NHB comment

    At my club we have a shortish Par 4 to start which is reachable by the longer hitter, but the ladies still insist on waiting for the green to clear before teeing off just in case the golfing god reaches down and grants them a 280+ drive for the first time in there life!!!! Get on with it!! Then they don't even reach the 100yard marker.

    And this does not only happen at my course i have seen it happen at nearly every course i have played.

  • Comment number 46.

    @43 nice post good pma good luck with bringing down the handicap.

  • Comment number 47.

    I was watching the match play in Spain at weekend on tv. I timed one of the players twice and pre shot took up to two mins. Each match had a referee but no action and the overall pace of play was painfully slow. The referees need to enforce, not just warn. The clubs need to be more proactive in dealing with the issue on a local level. The best way to resolve is through peer pressure and challenging slow play during, and after the round. It happens in my club - start/finish times on cards and you daren't lose ground to the group in front as you will hear all about it in the bar afterwards.

  • Comment number 48.

    Who says it's expensive to have a timekeeper for every group? You only need 18 timekeepers. Pay them £100 each (for the day) - £1800. 4 days - £7200. Peanuts for the European tour. I bet most members at the hosting club would love to do that job for free just to be near some top pro.

  • Comment number 49.

    On the piece by Ian, Monty is a known as a fairly quick player as is Donald. At Pro Am I was at monty arrived at the tee and enquired as to who was in front. Someone replied it was Fasth Monty quickly replied pity he dont play to his name.
    Point is the pros know who the slow players are and maybe they could have a word with the slower players and self police it a bit. When Rory blew up at the masters he partially blamed the speed of play as he was not comfortable playing alongside Angel, so the speed of play deffinately affects the pros as much as it can annoy anyone.

  • Comment number 50.

    The thing to do now is Sky+ the golf, wait a few hours and just fast forward to the people/Shots you want too see, like a lot of people have already said, it gets to boring now waiting for golfers to take there shots, its a disgrace to the paying public!

  • Comment number 51.

    Whilst I am all for the speeding of play (and let's hope the idea filters through to the weekend golfer), it is important - vital, even - to distinguish what is slow play and what is a hole played in long time due to genuine golfing reasons.

    Consider a player who is never ready to play their shot, then takes their time to determine their shot, select a club, adjust for the wind, pre-shot routine, adjust because they have been disturbed and then finally plays a stroke. Multiply this by 3 golfers in the 3-ball and you will have an interminable round, despite each player probably thinking that they are within their rights.

    Now consider a 3-ball where each player moves between shots rapidly, is ready and plays quickly but each player sprays it about and then has to spend their allotted 5 minutes looking for wayward balls. It is perfectly feasible (and legal) that each player could do this every shot. You would equally end up with an interminable round despite each player actually being a quick player.

    What should equally be enforced is the calling through of waiting groups.

    The "timing" of any player should be per shot and shot-to-shot, not necessarily per hole and hole-to-hole.

  • Comment number 52.

    My point is similar to @44. These timing chips are ok if all of the players are slow. What happens if you are a quick player in a group with 2 slow players??? You would feel justifiably bad if you were given a penalty for someone else's slow play.

    I agree that something needs to be done. Many of the Pros are taking too long and correcting their behaviour by placing a ref with each group (for reason above) would set a better exampe for younger/amateur golfers.

    As for club golfers I personally believe this comes back to pure etiquette (or lack of). You can be the slowest or worst golfer in the world (we were all novices once), but as long as you wave quicker groups through then there is no problem - but most don't. In days of old, most people would have lessons to start golf and the pro would teach them the basics of etiquette as well.......or they would be taught when they joined a club; when i started golf as a youngster, you would (literally) get shouted at by older members if you were slow or doing something wrong.....but it taught you very quickly! Now that people don't have lessons and try to teach themselves via t'internet, and are happy to pay green fees as memberships aren't always affordable, this education is lost.........I therefore believe that education is the key at amateur level,

  • Comment number 53.

    I agree that slow play is a cancer on our game especially as the next generation copy our tour pros, but those suggesting a shot clock or minimum time to complete a round are totally unaware of what slow play is, two scenarios for you of personal experience.
    At my home club the 8th through 11th holes are all less than 340 yards. Depending on wind conditions at least 2 out of the 4 are drivable. As a pretty long driver I have to wait until at least the group in front has reached the green before playing or in some cases have left the green (especially in a medal). This means that when we reach the par 3 13th my group tends to be at least a hole behind. Is this my fault? Am I slow playing? should I have to comprimise my game because I hit it long? No to all of the above, and just because I'm a hole behind does not mean I'm taking any more than 30 secs to hit my shot! On to my second real life scenario.

    Playing a national amateur tournament 4 years ago. My two ball waited for five mins on 11th tee - therefore we're not out of position. My playing partner and I both missed the green badly and took 4 to get down from off the green - none of these shots played slowly. Then on the next hole, a par 3, because of the position of the pin I 5 putted!!! Again none of these shots took longer than 30 secs. On the next tee we were given a warning for A. being a hole behind, and B. for taking too long to play the previous hole. What could I have done to play more quickly? Nothing other than hit better shots. So I've played every shot within the alloted time so I am not playing slowly so why should I be penalised?

    Other things to consider, what happens of you have to take a drop? is this counted in the 30 secs? what happens if you need a ruling? what happens if you loose a couple of balls? are these taken into account with a shot clock or overall time penalty?

    It's not a black and white issue and knee jerk responses like handing out shot penalties wont work and could cause someone a major championship? Did Phil M not get criticised for playing too quickly at the Masters when he was in the win situation!

  • Comment number 54.

    As @52 has pointed out, when I started out at my home club, all of the juniors had it drummed into us to let the group behind through if we were holding them up or if we had to look for a play. However, its a pity some of the older members didnt abide by the rules they were dishing out to the juniors!

  • Comment number 55.

    Would perhaps a simple timing method be a solution ? For example, Tiger, Luke and Rory start their round at 08:46, they are alloted a maximum of, lets be generous two hours, for the front nine, they should then be on the 10th at 10:46, also as there are marshalls and referees on the course, they could be reminded of their time limit if they fall behind, should they then be LATE teeing off on the 10th, they should all be given a penalty.
    Agree fully with BiloMcT, I play off 8 and was playing with a 22 handicapper, we were on a par 5 he had about 300 yards to go to the green, when I asked ( politely ) why he hadn't played, he said that he was waiting for the green to clear!!!! used his DRIVER off a tight lie and shanked it 20 yards into the out of bounds. The rest of the round was in similar fashion, of course the clubs were at fault, the greenkeepers etc. etc. blah blah. In the end I said he should the best club in the bag, " which one is that then ?" the grey massy one between the ears of course. Off now, clubs in the car teeing off at one.

  • Comment number 56.

    @42 - agree there are too many referee's called for when players try to get a free drop for relief.

    Accept that often this is routine, i.e. moving from sprinklers or cable tracks. However saw McDowell on Sunday asking for a drop for standing water. There had been a shower and his ball was in a hollow near the green. He claimed water was visible at side of his shoes when addressing the ball.

    The ref advised it was marginal, but gave him the relief. He dropped it maybe 1 pace back to what must have been a similar standard of ground. In reality he was just wanting to clean his ball and the standing water had no affect on his shot at all.

    Things like that should be cleared up and players discouraged from requesting these. He did hit a poor shot and miss the green afterall, you should expect some form of penalty.

  • Comment number 57.

    Firstly a confession – this is my first ever comment on any IC blog (although I have been reading and laughing at them for months). All of you regular bloggers will have to (Golden) bear with me while I feel my feet.
    Secondly how nice it is to see that the theme of blog being reflected in the follow-ups (so far no mention of LW’s bottle, TW’s club throwing or RR’s lack of headwear) Damn! I’ve just ruined it.
    Thirdly the problem of slow play. A course near me as various boards situated at tees stating how long the round should have taken up to that point. I.e. it is estimated that the first a par 4 should be completed in 12 minutes the second a par 3 should take 9 minutes and the courses par 5’s should take 15 minutes respectively (these times are for three balls, two balls are expected to be a little quicker, 4 balls a little longer). The whole 3 ball round should be concluded in 3 hours 36. The first time I played the course my partner and I became very aware of the earlier holes timings and tried to stick within them. As the round went on, the boards were ignored BUT we continued to play at a fair pace and actually finished well within the 3 hour 18minutes expected (If we had known the course it would have even been much quicker). I must say that the course is an easy walk and does not include many blind shots and it was a fair day to play.
    And finally I get to my point. Timed rounds are very difficult to police, the vagaries of the weather, the length of the course, its difficulty, the standard of the players’ ability and even the time of the tee off are all to be factored in to any penalties applied. A good example of conditions and the length of course would be the VMP which we witnessed on Sunday. Even though the players were ferried around (on some holes) in buggies, enough searching for balls off-line and the chat between player and caddie made the play unbearably slow (IMO).
    I think CM is right a ‘timer’ should go around with the pro’s and he/she should have the power to penalise players were necessary.
    It does seem strange though that CM has aired this view now… why not years ago Monty?
    PS the point made about waiting for a green to clear 280 plus yards away after a 150 yard drive is a good one and you are right, it is at every club! And it is truly exasperating!

  • Comment number 58.

    easy, pick a tournament, maybe one that is new on each male tour(european and pga) and put a 30 second clock on from pulling the club out of the bag to hitting the ball for every group, and see how it works, the press received would benefit the sponsors and the tournament as a whole and if it works then it's all good.

    personally I don't care how long people take, I think a few old farts want something to be relevant with now, as long as the golf is good no-one should care.

  • Comment number 59.

    I believe there needs to be education at Junior level on things like this and etiquitte. Also i think people should play on the embarressment factor of being slow. Ben Crane should be slagged off constantly by everyone, then he would stop. wonder does he look at himslef in the mirror and think ' my slow behaviour is acceptable '.
    i remember being at the Irish Open in 99 and watched a journeyman french player who i cant even remember his name now take about 10 minutes on a tee of a par 3 discussing the shot etc with his caddy and changing clubs loads and then hit a very average shot about 40 feet from the pin. The Seve the great man who was playing with him took about 20 seconds and pinged it to about 3 feet. Seve just marched off the tee towards the green while the loser journeyman slowly walked off the tee still debating the wind or something!

  • Comment number 60.

    Something needs to be done as i agree that the behaviour of the Pros definitely filters through to the amateur game - all handicaps and ages. I'm sick of seeing people playing in our friendly £3 Sunday morning roll ups taking an age over their straight 5 foot putt and then fist-pumping when it goes in.

    This is a difficult one as allowing a set amount of time per group has 2 major flaws:
    - It doesn't identify which member of the group is at fault.
    - What if your group is held up by the group(s) in front all round?

  • Comment number 61.

    @60 it should be timing each individual player with a stopclock, TV can help with that a lot(clock on screen etc). but each player should be timed and each time they exceed a time limit(from say taking the club out of the bag to hitting the ball, as you should allow time to judge the shot ie. swirling winds on open Par 3's etc.) they get a shot penalty for that hole.

    Some of the worst offenders are those that have so little confidence and so many thought processes over putting that it takes them 2 minutes to line up and get their grip sorted, belly putters should be out and if players are so weak minded that they have to rely on advisors and ridiculous set-ups to make putts then they should just fail.

  • Comment number 62.

    You'd just need 18 or so refs, one on each tee, all logging times to one central system. Just time the point when players should be ready to tee off until the point they have reached the next tee. Any exceptions where extra time is taken up, such as group in front are holding up play, time taken out to speak to referee, can be covered by 'timeouts' for that group, and again this can logged to a central system.

  • Comment number 63.

    Golf has statistics for everything but time taken to play. Let’s have a league table for time each drive, iron shot and putt. That’s one table people would not want to be top of. Name and shame!

  • Comment number 64.

    All I can say is thankyou sky plus ! there 's loads of waffle on the golf as well as dozy players . On the course though its much worse for us hackers who have to spend 5 hours queing on a saturday. This is one of the reasons why i'm currently not a member anywhere.

  • Comment number 65.

    @ 63 pjf749...well said. This was what i was saying about playing on the embarressment factor of it. I'm sure Ben Crane wouldnt like being named and shame so publicly. Then he might stop his terrible slow play.

  • Comment number 66.

    According to the LPGA, this is the 9th time a player has been penalized a loss of stroke/hole since 2008.
    The LPGA is brutally slow but they should be congratulated for applying penalties on a consistent basis and not just because of this one-off.
    It's not necessary to send out a referee with every match; ShotLink has all the timing stats and it would be the easist thing in the world to apply sanctions based upon them, or at least send a ref out to groups who have fallen behind.
    Not for nothing was the last PGA player docked a stroke named Glen All Day.

  • Comment number 67.

    All in favour of this, and if it sets an example to other sports THIS WOULD BE A DOUBLE WIN. I'm thinking tennis which is being killed by Rafa and Novak. SOOOO slow.

  • Comment number 68.

    Iain, you say that "Ironically Munoz had been playing the slower golf but Brecht should be congratulated and backed to the hilt for taking action that should serve as a precedent for the rest of the game".

    You have no problem that the wrong player was penalised?? Sure twas only a couple of women and not that important and it gives you a chance to write this article...................It appears to me that this penalty appears to have been done on a whim then, hardly fair??

  • Comment number 69.

    Its been great reading differing accounts of slow play around the country,and ways to solve it,my opinion is,do unto others as you would like done to you,keep up with the group in front not ahead of the one behind you,you know when your balls really lost so play the provisional(always have one in your pocket)and if you have the luxury of spare time,go out when its quiet not behind the groups you know to be slow who seem to play at the same time daily,if none of that works shout FORE AND WAVE YOUR ARMS AROUND ALOT!!! that can work too lol

  • Comment number 70.

    #68 Pressel was penalised in accordance with the rules for having a bad time once they were put on the clock. Munoz played faster once she was being timed. I congratulate the LPGA for having the guts to implement their rules because their male counterparts don't do the same. It is a pity, though, that players are not clocked from the start of their rounds, as Munoz proves it is possible to speed up when you are being scrutinised.

  • Comment number 71.

    @70 interesting how the player who got them put on the clock then speeded up, so it was not like she could not play faster more likely did not want to for whatever reason.
    Perhaps if a player in a group felt that someone within that group they could put pressure on by asking for the group to be put on the clock. In effect self policing perhaps then the slow coach might a realise that they are a problem and b make them do something about it.
    I dont seem to remember Bubba taking an age over his wonder shot at the masters or Phil once he had decided his play the 3 wood he hit in the Nelson at the weekend.

  • Comment number 72.

    When you look at the majority of top sports in the world they all have timescales Football, Rugby Basketball etc etc, some sports like golf, snooker still have no time limits but even Snooker have introduced against the clock Snooker now which seems to have gone down well, even cricket have time scales during tests. Maybe its time golf introduced has Ian says in his comment above a time structure, trial it at first, Has soon as the last man tees off on the 1st tee the counter starts, maybe 4 hours too start off with and if the groups go over the 4 hours then penalty strokes apply, we have got to stop the game becoming boring and as snooker/Cricket(20/20) have make the sport more exciting too watch!!

  • Comment number 73.

    Slow play is the bain of most golfers, however their needs to be distinguishable difference between blatant slow play, a la Kevin Na and slow play caused by things such as course conditions and so on. For example it is possible for a three ball to lose balls on two or three consecutive holes and have to search for them. This happened over the weekend at Finca Cortesin and whereas the course was not designed for spectators this meant there was nobody about to spot where the balls had landed thus requiring a search adding time to their round. It's a catch 22 situation when this happens. Maybe when players are given instructions as to how long each round should take prior to teeing off and if they cannot explain why it has taken longer then talk about penalties.

  • Comment number 74.

    Fair enough Iain, but you have to admit that she was put on the clock initially primaily because of Munoz slow play............hardly fair on Pressel then.

    It's a bit like if a Ben Crane 2 ball gets warned and the other fella gets penalised for being over time on the next shot...............

    Personally, i think the referees need more powers. I think a Player rather that a group should be put on the clock. Otherwise every time you play with Langer or Crane you are likely to be put on the's an easy option to put a group on the clock when the SLOW PLAYERS need to be specifically targeted, warned and then informed they will be timed/watched...............

  • Comment number 75.

    good article - very interesting reading all the posts.

    looked elsewhere for articles on the event in question, Golf Digest had some good blogs. For example - although i strongly commend the Ref for taking action, as I am in favor of speeding up play, it does seem a little rich that the rules for men and women are different. (or so they suggested) women have 30 sec per shot... men on the PGA tour get 60 secs. Upshot being - if it had been two men playing - 'Mr' Pressel would have walked to the next tee 3 up and stayed that way...

  • Comment number 76.

    Slow play is the scourge of Golf and it is absurd how long rounds take by professional players.
    Some very sensible comments/ ideas have been made.
    What is particularly frustrating is how long players take on the putting green.
    The continual marking if the ball when it's a tap in drives me nuts.
    Also the posturing from some players on the green looking at the green from ridiculous angles is a nonsense.
    Although I think Bubba stole the line from Arnold Palmer about his philosophy about playing - I hit the ball find it and hit it again - is the way the game should be played.
    As a recreational player you see Hackers out there mimicking this slow play which is driving people away from the game.
    I played a round the other day with my wife and completed the 18 holes in 3 Hours and neither of us are low handicap players.

  • Comment number 77.

    Whilst I agree with the need to speed up the pro game, a blanket 4hr per round isnt really workable in the amateur game. The more shots you play, the longer it takes to play! Not so much an issue for the pro's but a club comp with 2 28 handicapper knocking it around, versus a 2 ball of single figure handicappers isnt going to be fair.

    Then you have the 5 minute time limit to search for a lost ball, some high handicappers can lose two or three balls a round without thinking anything of it, the walk back to the tee if the player chooses to do so, reply shot etc all takes time. Blanket times for amateurs in clubs would mainly penalise those who aren't so good, or just having a poor playing day.

    One sow group in turn would also slow down every group behind, so would all the following groups be penalised then too? Or do the group following have to keep notes over every time they were held up by the group in front for such instances so they aren't penalised? And if that the case, how does a group 2 or 3 back know the main hold is a group a full hole ahead?

    I guess you could argue for time limits based on handicap, lower the handicap, the less time a round should take.

  • Comment number 78.

    @15 - Edders, great post, spot on.

    It has become acceptable, and people are coming up with weak excuses.

    It needs to be sorted, and now.

  • Comment number 79.

    I've noticed a few comments having a dig at the younger 'imaginary pro' generation. I take my time over my putts, walk around them, visualise a line, practice the stroke and then step over the ball. This doesn't make me anything other than a sensible golfer. I take my time over the most crucial part of the game. I should say 'my' game, as I expect most of the people ranting about slow play on here are exactly the duffers who zig zag around a golf course, refuse to let quicker players through, and probably don't repair their pitchmarks and divots... and then rant about the condition of the course in the clubhouse.
    We play ready golf. Yes we play out of turn, but if someone is ready to go and there's no danger to anyone else you play your shot. You wait at the tee with the ball and tee in one hand, and the club of choice in the other.
    I am driven to distraction if I have the misfortune of playing with some of the old codgers at my club who stand on the tee fumbling in their pockets for a tee for 2 mins before decising they're going to change clubs.... with the same enevitable result, 5 mins in the trees looking for a lost cause.
    So in summary, I may take my time over putts as do my peers, but I don't hang around walking between shots and I've made my mind up by the time I'm at my ball.

    One other thing to add... I don't think putting rangefinders in 28 handicappers hands helps much. Absolutely pointless until your down to less than 18 and strike a consistent ball.

  • Comment number 80.

    Because of the seemingly endless ball studying and shot practicing, golf is, for me, the worst sport to watch.
    I tend to watch sport while exercising at the gym and golf is just so boring I have to change channels or stare into space.

  • Comment number 81.

    with regards to speeding the game up. Caddies should not be aloud to tell the pro what the line of the put is nor should they be aloud to line the pro up for the put. A problem that I see at our club is when a player who has marked his ball with a thin line which takes him for ever to line up when he is putting.

  • Comment number 82.

    We badly need to hear from mattefc, cfcboy23, dennerslad and Don247.

  • Comment number 83.

    And powerhitter, we need to hear from powerhitter about this slow play nonsense.

  • Comment number 84.

    Any penalty must be immediate - it should not be done retrospectively.

    If a player was penalised in the scoring hut for not finishing in time, it would perhaps change the dynamic of the tournament as competitors may change their shot selection given where they are on the leaderboard.

    Also - to put a group on the clock is just not fair. Lets say an average paced player is with two slow players. He would perhaps try to compensate by taking minimal time and speeding up their group to get back into their alloted timeframe. Even if he didn't do this, the fact he may consider it makes it unfair.

    I have certainly noticed I tend to speed up if there is a group behind us. Even if we are playing at a decent pace and perhaps have had to look for one ball during the round.

    As for the matchplay - I am surprised they were not keener to encourage quicker play. Especially in the final stages. In a strokeplay event, slow play is not really an issue for TV coverage as there will always be shots to cut to - but watching the matchplay final it is noticeable how long the breaks were between shots despite obviously not having to wait for fairways or greens to clear.

  • Comment number 85.

    Whats the rush? I cant think of a better place to be that on the golf course on an afternoon, i'm not in a hurry to get back into the clubhouse. Admittedly a 5 hour round is way over the top but i guess i'm lucky that I dont suffer those.

    I think is a bit of hot air with all the different theories on how to speed up the pace of play in the pro's. The best way would be the players policing themselves, i'm sure much slow play is just out of habit, i think they need to get themselves out of that habit. Easier said than done.

    I'm also amused at how everyone is blaming everyone else for slow play. So far it seems that the identikit slow player is a 1-28 handicapper ranging from 14-80 in age and they tend to be either male or female. I think that just about covers it.

  • Comment number 86.

    First things first. Stop caddies from lining up any club, it started with puts and has now moved to the rest of the game. They should be there for yardages and carrying the bag. It might also avoid Steve Williams syndrome 'I have won xxxx amount of tournaments! There should be a max amount of time from when the golfer finds and reaches his ball to when he plays, say 1 minute. This should be self policed in the same way as all other rules of golf.

  • Comment number 87.

    A number of suggestions for remote timing systems. I don't think they could work because the nature of golf is that there are a number of interruptions that can slow down play that are no fault of the player. It takes a referee to determine the nature of a delay and whether a player is culpable and so liable to penalty.

  • Comment number 88.

    This is ridiculous, pro folders have markers following them to check their scores, give them a stop watch and the power to add shots, no extra expense, happy days. The chip idea is even better. But a start time finish round deadline would mean all the later starters would get punished for one slow group. Simples is this ten minutes per hole per three ball no extra time for lost balls etc if the holes not done 1 shot per minute over. All rounds done in three hours like normal fit people. And as for tiger woods moaning about slow play he's the slowest greatest user of slow play in the history of the game. Pot kettle black etc tiger?

  • Comment number 89.

    I'm with the chap who suggested putting the round time on the score card. The start time is already there, so just add a finish time box onto the card. That way, when the scores are entered into the computer (as the are even at club level now) the round time can be kept as well.

    If you're playing with a slow player you're time will be affected for that round, but over time the tour would see who is slowing things down. They could let individuals know and even perhaps put them on the clock for a single round to keep them in check.

  • Comment number 90.

    #87: Iain,
    That's a cop-out. You may not be able to determine the reason for slow play remotely but you sure as hell can identify that it exists.

    Perhaps it's time for Na, Crane and Simpson (to name three consistently slow coaches) to be grouped together. Perhaps Bradley, Harrington and Laird could be another threesome - even Finchem would note that they've slipped "out of position".

  • Comment number 91.

    I was played a round with BiloMcT.

    He was the slowest player I've ever seen - much worse than Kevin Na.

  • Comment number 92.

    If you're playing well in the medal and are on a good score, I find I'm not as bothered with the slow play. But if your score's gone then it can be the longest and most boring time ever.

    Maybe the new equipment slows things up too (for us amateurs, that is) - people are generally hitting it much further than they were 20 years ago, so more waiting around and groups get backed up. There were always high handicappers around so not sure that we can just blame the "hackers" for medals taking ages.

  • Comment number 93.

    As a 26 handicapper, I'm reasonably offended by the posts identifying players of my level as being the slow players. Absolute rubbish. I'm a reasonably quick player, since I know that the likelihood of wind or my lie affecting my final shot are lower than the quality of the strike/swing I apply to the shot.

    I have recently joined a club and the chief culprit of the slow play I have observed is definitely the putting. Everyone is looking for breaks and pace that just aren't there. Even at the reasonably high-priced clubs in England, there's not huge amounts of break (unless very obvious) or pace in putts.

    Lastly, no matter what your handicap is. If you can't score, PICK UP. Players who state they are playing for their stroke score rather than Stableford are out-dated. No-one cares about stroke score (in most situations at club level).

  • Comment number 94.

    Also - @85/Jimmy - you are spot on. Almost all other rules of golf are self-regulated, why not this one? Players have a responsibility to play more quickly, it should be on them to keep their pace up. Add it to the starting rules sheet in the changing rooms. The odd referee-derived penalty will help with players starting to adopt a new outlook towards their pace.

    Lastly, ban Bones. I am a lefty and love Mickelson but the length of time they discuss each and every shot is ridiculous.

  • Comment number 95.

    sorry, but giving them a fixed time limit from taking the club out of their bag to hitting the ball eliminates any unforeseen stoppages.

    Referees can judge the length of time taken to decide on your shot, depending on the circumstances(being in the trees or bad weather dispensation can be allowed) but once you have the club in your hand you should be doing nothing else but hitting the ball, all this faffing around with your increasingly ridiculous grips, your set number of wiggles because otherwise you lose your confidence etc., just be done with it, your a pro you're obviously good enough to play in the event just bloody well get on with it.

    Too many advisors slowing players down by getting in their heads and making players rely in immaterial little things to convince them they're good enough.

  • Comment number 96.

    3 hours 30 mins should be the target for any 3 ball in an amateur/club competition. The pre-shot routines should remain on the range or in the car park on competition days. The simple expedients of being ready to play your shot when it is your turn or, in sensible situations and, with the consent of partners playing out of turn (eg if said partners are out of position or raking a bunker) and as for lining up putts on all sides in a Sunday morning roll up.

    Professionals have some lee way on timing due to crowds and the length of the courses they play on and of course the huge amounts of money at stake but anything approaching 5 hours is not a great spectacle and once the fans turn away, the sponsors will too...

  • Comment number 97.

    2 points I'd make. Firstly, in fairness we can't judge rounds now versus 10,20,30 years ago when courses have got so much longer - that must add at least 10-15 mins to a round on some courses.

    HOWEVER, I agree that slow play is killing the game. Strikes me that we don't need new rules, we just need to enforce the existing ones in EVERY case. If that doesn't work then don't even warn players that they are going on the clock just fine them the hole or 2 strokes or whatever. It would soon sort the issue out.

    Getting the amateur game back to speed will take longer as it's the amateurs that gradually copy the pro's so it will take time to reverse the damage that has already been done.

  • Comment number 98.

    #90 It is inconceivable that anything as serious as a stroke penalty can be imposed by anyone other than a qualified referee who has evidence to back up his ruling. Too much at stake. You can't punish someone for a slow time if they have been held up all the way round for example.

  • Comment number 99.

    I am a Marshall at the BMW Open. A cheaper and simpler solution would be to approve the walking scorers that accompany each match to time matches and to make the penalties for slow play mandatory. If the role were taking by appropriately trained Marshalls, who work for what is basically the love of golf and the chance of a free round of golf, the problem would be solved.

  • Comment number 100.

    Surely in pro golf where we have stats for every conceivable shot/distance etc, why don't we time every players' round of 18 holes, add them up at the end of the year, take the average and every player with an average over the required limit for that year (reduce the limit gradually every year) loses his/her card for the year....sorted. Goodbye to Harrington and Crane etc. Hello to more new golfers taking up the game.

    Haven't thought about the penalty for club golfers yet but that will come.


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