How long has pace of play been a problem on the PGA Tour?
“It’s been a problem since I’ve played golf. I’m 42 and all we’ve done is talk about it,” said Paul Casey.
Casey, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour and 14-time winner on the European Tour, is one of several players at the American Express this week who are applauding new rules the Tour is rolling out.
In recent years, slow play on the Tour has been an increasingly hot topic, with players from Jason Day to Bryson DeChambeau to J.B. Holmes criticized by fans and fellow players over violating rules that the Tour hasn’t seemed interested in enforcing.
As the drums about slow play have beat louder, the Tour said it was studying the problem. Now it is ready to put in place new rules that will be quicker to penalize a player in a round or a tournament, could fine players for repeated violations and will focus more on the individual player rather than the pace of play of an entire group.
Casey said he’s noticed that younger players seem to play slower when they get onto the Tour than previous generations.
“But that’s our fault, again, because a lot of players who come out, you watch your peers, you watch your heroes and your stars on TV, the guys you want to emulate,” Casey said.
Casey, who said he doesn’t consider himself a slow player, is happy something is being done by the Tour, but he’s not quite up on the specifics of the new rules.
“With all honesty, I need to read it again before I answer, because, yes, I sat in that room (in an information session) and the last time I thoroughly discussed it,” said Casey, who added he needs to refresh himself on the rules.
For Brendan Todd, a two-time winner this year, said any set of rules should be about getting everyone on the Tour playing by the same rules.
“The nature of the field size, the difficult golf courses, the green speeds, $8 million purse, that all has to do with what the pace of play is,” Todd said. “If you want to enforce the rules of golf, then make the first guy who hits out of the fairway to play in 60 seconds and the next two guys to play in their 40 seconds and you want everyone to play in the same time, then yeah, they need some more stringent action, which is what they are taking.”
Todd said a lack of enforcement of the rules has allowed slow players to bend if not break the rules over and over.
“Previous to this roll out, we have too many guys that are taking advantage of the situation of where, OK, my group is in position, I’m going to take two minutes to hit this shot, and then I’m going to get up to the green and take two more minutes,” Todd said. “Then I’m going to hit my tee shot really fast on the next holes, and then I’m going to walk fast to my ball, then I’m going to play out of turn occasionally, so when I want to take two minutes, I can take two minutes. Which is cheating.”