In one of the biggest events on the LPGA Tour, the Sybase Match Play Championship, officials penalized a player one shot while in a semi-final match. Morgan Pressel and Azahara Munoz were in their match with Pressel leading by three holes at the time. Earlier, they had been warned and “placed on the clock.” That means Pressel had already been playing too slowly, and they were going to time and watch them. Several holes later, the penalty was assessed, it flustered Pressel and she lost the next few holes and ultimately the match. So, where do you stand on this one?
The PGA Tour has put hundreds of players on the clock since Tiger joined the Tour, and not once since then has someone been assessed. In other words, it’s a “fake” warning; the players know nothing is going to happen. You can’t tell me that every time players have gone on the clock that they got back in position (ie. caught up to the players in front of them, or made up the lost time). The game of golf needs to played faster in the US (and a few other places), and a big congrats to the LPGA Tour for following their stated rules and policy. And by the way, the players participate in designing those rules. Where is the PGA Tour on this?
Just two weeks ago at the Players Championship, we watched Kevin Na take forever to play his shots, and instead of a one shot penalty, he was assessed a small fine. My goodness, the pace of his play was as much a discussion topic as the performance of all the other players including Matt Kuchar who won the event. It has been forever since they have done a thing about slow play, and you have several notable players even speaking out about it. Both Luke Donald, current #1 player in the world, and Tiger spoke about assessing the penalty. Tiger said only a penalty tied to strokes will make a difference.
Have you had a chance to play in Scotland, and watch them play? They play on the public courses in 3 ½ hours – that’s right, not 5 or 6 hours like in the US. No wonder the game is not growing here anymore. Hats off to the LPGA, and I hope the real message goes right into the office of PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem; the PGA Tour needs to set the example for faster play.