Bryson DeChambeau’s recent viral incident at the The Northern Trust Open could be viewed as the tipping point in the slow play debate… the event that finally caused officials to act. But that’d be wrong.
If you haven’t seen the video, young Bryson took 2 min 20 to line up an 8 foot putt (which he missed). Worse than that, the indignation he showed later at the press conference displayed little regard for those around him… it was all about him. No regrets, no remorse. To be fair, he’s not the only one. JB Holmes took over 4 minutes to play his approach shot (a layup) into the 18th green at Torrey Pines last year. So this is isn’t the first incident on Tour. In truth, slow play has been creeping into the game for years.
At Merion, for the US Open, a notice was put up in the players locker room. It detailed how the pace of play was slowing down, how it was outrageously slow compared to the year before at Medinah, and it was ruining the game. This happened in 1950.
The head of the USGA complained at the time that it was taking 3 hours 37 minutes to complete a round and this was unacceptable. They needed to do something about it, and do it now. While laughable now, it just goes to show how far things have slipped, and for how long. Some players are beginning to speak up though. Brooks Koepka has been a vocal critic, and Edoardo Molinari actually published the European Tours timing list back in April. It makes for interesting reading. Plenty of breaches, very few fines.
The European Tour has at least introduced some slow play initiatives for next year and the new rules do seem like a genuine attempt to at least take the issue seriously.
Whether the PGA Tour follows suit is another matter. Let’s hope they can at least stem the tide… it may have taken 70 years, but 2020 seems like a good time to start.
Article written by Dean Klatt.