Golf: The cancer of slow play at professional level

Wed May 11, 2016 5:43am EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - Rounds of golf that can take a total of five hours or more; players who are diplomatically described as being "methodical" or "deliberate"; inordinate waiting times on tee boxes for greens or fairways to clear.

The cancer of slow play is a problem that affects every professional tour around the world, and a variety of methods has been implemented in a bid to resolve the issue.

On the U.S. PGA Tour, players are fined $20,000 if they get 'put on the clock' for slow play a minimum of 10 times during a single season.

In January, the European Tour introduced a new 'monitoring penalty' which can lead to one stroke being docked from the score of a multiple offender.

Five players were given penalties by the European Tour after the first three events where the policy was implemented, among them American world number two Jordan Spieth who is renowned for his 'deliberate' play.

For England's world number 10 Justin Rose, the problem of slow play is more of a general traffic issue than a problem caused by individual players.

"If you try and drive home in no time at all during rush hour, you're obviously not going to be able to do it," Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion, told Reuters.

"With 156 guys on the golf course you're going to run into slow play, not because we're playing slowly but because of the traffic on the golf course.   Continued...

Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports