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Slow Play Rules Must be Enforced on Tour

By: | Thu 25 Oct 2018 | Comments

YOU MAY have missed it, but a tour pro has been given a one-stroke penalty for slow play. Hallelujah!  The irony is that the penalty was handed out by the Champions Tour and went to 59-year-old Corey Pavin.

And let’s face it, at 59 years of age, Pavin and his fellow over-50s are hardly likely to be getting any faster with their pace of play, are they? Pavin was playing in the final round of the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Richmond, Virginia. As he came off the course he was told that his final round of 72 would actually be a 73. It is believed that he received no warnings while on the course, which seems a bit odd. As a result, the 1995 US Open champion finished in a tie for 15th place. And it could have been very costly indeed.

The tournament was the first in the three-event Charles Schwab Cup playoffs, the seniors’ equivalent of the FedEx Cup. The top 54 in the points list qualify to play in the next tournament and after being on the mark for the entire week, Pavin eventually finished in 53rd place, making it to the Invesco Championship by the skin of his teeth.

There is a genuine irony in the powers-that-be deciding to make an example of somebody playing seniors golf, especially when you look back to the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines at the beginning of the season when JB Holmes found himself being ridiculed for taking five minutes to hit his approach to the 72nd hole when in contention to win. As his playing partners waited, and waited, and waited, he decided to lay up rather than go for the green, which was the shot every right-thinking individual was urging him to play. His delaying tactics had a huge impact on playing partner Alex Noren, who was looking for his first victory on the PGA Tour. Unbelievably, no penalty was imposed upon Holmes and another season has passed with nothing being done on the PGA Tour to tackle slow play.

It has been a different matter on the European Tour, with the Shot Clock Masters actively encouraging quicker play and being welcomed by players and spectators alike. On the PGA Tour we saw Kevin Na drive his playing partners to distraction on a weekly basis. The same applies to Jason Day. And don’t get us started on Keegan Bradley. We said, don’t get us started on Keegan Bradley.

We should be encouraged that somebody has paid the penalty for slow play. But a 59-year-old? Really? There are rules - and it is surely time to enforce them.

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