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Web Street Golf Daily Pulse
VOLUME 9, NUMBER 151                                                       
Monday, August 12 2019

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “Let's talk about slow play. I play a different way. I take my 40 seconds that's allotted, sometimes over, absolutely. Totally agree. It's maybe five percent of the time. But I'll tell you that it's really kind of unfortunate the way it's perceived because there's a lot of other guys that take a lot of time. They don't talk about this matter and for me personally, it is an attack and it is something that is not me whatsoever. People don't realize the harm that they are doing to the individuals.”

BRAIN TEASER: How many career PGA TOUR victories does Patrick Reed have?

MONKEE SEE, MONKEY DO: Einstein’s definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. In many ways it describes golf. But it certainly isn’t a smart way to do business.

Golf has been plagued by three challenges that have prevented it from growing. The time it takes to play, the cost involved and the difficulty of the game are the main reasons why people choose not to play or play less often. Most recreational players harbor some level of aspiration for the professional game. Yet, the best of the best, which make it look very easy at times, continue to plod along at a pace they deem acceptable. The argument has been the amount of money on the line shouldn’t cause anyone to rush. But its worth pointing out the epidemic, yes it is, isn’t a recent phenomenon and therefore is in fact chronic. It’s become a topic of discussion recently at the TOUR level, which should leave everyone to wonder to what extent this virus has infected the recreational game.

“We've been fighting that ever since I grew up watching the game, guys were complaining about slow play,” stated 43-year old Tiger Woods before he withdrew from the Northern Trust. “We can only go as fast as the group in front of us goes. It's important that the first group goes out and sets the pace, because as you know, the times get slower as you go on, and if the first group goes out slow or has rulings, hits the ball bad, it just logjams everyone behind them.”

Woods shared how some players attempt to counteract the slow boats. “We've had guys that have played with slow players, that will play slow on purpose to put them on the clock, so the group will play fast. They want to play fast. And that's their version of combatting slow play is they will play even slower,” he said. “Well, what about the guys behind them, you know, and the logjam that creates?” This strategy is lost on the recreational/aspirational player in large part since its never been reported. But the days of 4+ hours to play a round, is the new normal.

Rory McIlroy wasn’t bashful with his thoughts on the matter. “I don't think it's fine to do nothing because it's genuinely a problem in our game. It starts at our level because people try to emulate us. I've heard stories of college events and how long they take. There's no reason why it should take that long,” he said. “It has to be addressed some way. For me, I think the guys that are slow get too many chances before they are penalized.” 

He has a solution, which unfortunately isn’t likely to ever be embraced. “So it should be a warning and then a shot. It should be you're put on the clock and that is your warning, and then if you get a bad time while on the clock, it's a shot. That will stamp it out right away,” said McIlroy. “I don't understand why we can't just implement that. We are not children that need to being told five or six times what to do. So it should be a warning and then a shot. It should be you're put on the clock and that is your warning, and then if you get a bad time while on the clock, it's a shot. I think giving guys less opportunities to be slow could be a good start.”

So if you want to reduce the time it takes to play, McIlroy is offering a way that could lead to a wider adoption rate. His solution isn’t new, but what would be is giving it a try! For the good of the game, something needs to be done. But it’s going to take some courage to stand up to TOUR players. And that is where the rubber meets the road, as they say. “The PGA TOUR policy is the amount of time it takes to hit a shot. But the problem with that is that there's people walking and other people in the group that are walking to the next shot and there's other people that are getting numbers, right. It takes them time to do stuff,” said Bryson DeChambeau, who has taken some heat from social media on the time it, takes for him to play.

Its 2019 and little to nothing has been done to address this chronic problem that is systemic in golf. At the recreational level, where course owners and operators are challenged to locate consumers willing to pay $50, $100 or $200 to play and then turn around and enforce a strict pace of play policy. Since the game requires sunshine the window of opportunity on a daily basis is limited, which in turns means the owner/operator’s financial opportunities are too. Capacity is constricted per 18-holes and when operating at less than capacity is becomes even harder to enforce paying customer to play faster to accommodate others, especially when they want to act the part of TOUR player. But leading by example could be a start towards turning this ship around. Maybe one day it will happen. Then again it will require more that a few players speaking out about it. Einstein wasn’t known as a golfer. He died in 1955. But it would bring a smile to his face, if he were still alive today, how golf continues to prove his point!

As the late, great George Carlin immortalized, “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.” His joke also sums up golf’s pace of play issue!

WEB GEMS:

LIP SERVICE? The PGA Tour is considering expanding its pace-of-play policy in the wake of vocal criticism by players and fans of recent slow play. READ MORE>>>

HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY: Michelle Wie got married in style Saturday to Jonnie West in a ceremony and reception at a private home in Beverly Hills, Calif. West is the director of basketball operations for the Golden State Warriors and son of NBA great Jerry West. READ MORE>>>

ANSWERS: “Let's talk about slow play. I play a different way. I take my 40 seconds that's allotted, sometimes over, absolutely. Totally agree. It's maybe five percent of the time. But I'll tell you that it's really kind of unfortunate the way it's perceived because there's a lot of other guys that take a lot of time. They don't talk about this matter and for me personally, it is an attack and it is something that is not me whatsoever. People don't realize the harm that they are doing to the individuals.”--Bryson DeChambeau.

Patrick Reed claimed his second THE NORTHERN TRUST victory and seventh PGA TOUR title.

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