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Players Like JB Holmes Are Killing Golf

By: | Mon 18 Feb 2019 | Comments

IF YOU stayed the course to watch JB Holmes win the Genesis Open at Riviera then award yourself a gold star for stamina. It took Holmes and his group two hours and 45 minutes to play nine holes. TWO HOURS AND 45 MINUTES! We are talking about three of the best players in the world in the group - Holmes, Justin Thomas and Adam Scott.

Regular watchers of the PGA Tour will know that Scott and Thomas in particular are men who like to get on with it. In fact, Thomas has been critical of slow play on the professional tours. You will also probably be aware that Brooks Koepka has recently been highly critical of the ditherers. Don’t get him started on the subject of Bryson DeChambeau and the time it takes him to play a shot - any shot!

But the serial offender at Riviera is Holmes. He will point to the fact that he was winning his first tournament for almost four years. But do you remember his performance at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines last year? He came to the 72nd hole knowing that he required an eagle to get into a playoff. The obvious thing to do was to pull out a three wood or five wood and go for the green in two. Instead, he spent the best part of 10 minutes pontificating before finally reaching for an iron and laying up. Unsurprisingly, he failed to hole his approach. 

Fair enough, you might think. But he was playing alongside Alex Noren, a man chasing his first PGA Tour victory. And he showed no consideration whatsoever for Noren. The Swede later claimed that he was unaffected by Holmes’ antics, but he clearly was. Unlike his playing partner, Noren is a considerate man.

So here we are more than 12 months down the line and Holmes was at it again, taking forever over club selection. Yes there was some wind, but the conditions were the same for everybody. 

We have been here before, but it is an issue that is not going to go away. And I make no apologies for returning to it yet again There are a number of offenders on both the PGA and European Tours, as well as a host of women on the LPGA Tour who seem incapable of pulling the trigger. The powers-that-be keep telling us they are aware of the fact that something needs to be done to address slow play, admitting that it is possibly the biggest single issue affecting the growth of the game. We saw rounds lasting six hours at the AT&T Pebble Beach but there were amateurs in attendance, celebrities who insist on holing out even when running up cricket scores.

DeChambeau, Kevin Na, Holmes, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley, Jordan Spieth…the list of players goes on and on. But still referees refuse to take action. Yes, players are sometimes informed that they have been “put on the clock”. And they speed up. Surprise, surprise! DeChambeau, however, seems to be above it all and that just has to change. He has won a huge army of admirers for his unique approach to the game but you won’t find anybody who approves of the interminable length of time it takes him to play. It is excruciating.

So how about this as a course of action? Before every tournament, the referees tell each and every player what the “par time” is for the course they are playing that particular week. They will receive no warnings, they will not be put on the clock. But, unless there is a very good reason for failing to match that “par time” they will be penalised one shot for every 10 minutes taken beyond that time. You can be absolutely certain that rounds of golf lasting five-and-a-half hours would quickly become a thing of the past. The real problem in all of this is that youngsters watch the likes of Holmes on TV and then go out and emulate them.

Let’s be clear - watching JB Holmes winning the Genesis Open was like watching paint dry. Please guys, you have the power to act, you have the wherewithal to deliver penalties. Stop talking about it, stop dithering - start penalising these golfers. And start doing it right now. PLEASE!

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Tags: slow play PGA Tour FedEx Cup

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