USGA to launch initiative to address slow play

Sat Feb 2, 2013 5:26pm EST
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(Reuters) - Five days after Tiger Woods won the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open after a tortuous final round, the United States Golf Association (USGA) announced on Saturday measures to address the game's growing problem of slow play.

The USGA in a statement laid out plans to launch a "multi-faceted program" this year in partnership with golf industry leaders, allied organizations, media partners and golf course managers in a bid to resolve the issue.

"The cry that pace of play has become one of the most significant threats to the game's health has become only louder over the last year," USGA president Glen D. Nager said during the organization's annual meeting in San Diego.

"Industry research clearly shows that slow play and the amount of time it takes to play a round of golf detract from the overall experience and threaten to drive players away from the game.

"This problem touches every golfer, from the professional to the elite amateur to the collegiate player to the millions of recreational golfers at both public and private facilities."

On Monday, former world number one Woods clinched his 75th PGA Tour title by four shots at Torrey Pines outside San Diego after completing a fog-delayed final round that was played at a painfully slow pace.

At one point eight strokes in front of the chasing pack on a breezy day, Woods dropped four shots over his last five holes as he and his playing partners had to wait on virtually every tee before they could proceed.

"We played nine holes in just over three hours, and three of them are par threes," Woods said of his increasing frustration over the closing stretch. "I started losing my patience a little bit, and that's when I made a few mistakes."

USGA executive director Mike Davis echoed Woods' thoughts.   Continued...

U.S. golfer Tiger Woods hits his second shot off the 17th fairway during final round play at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, California January 28, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake