Slow Play Rule Still Needs Work
Brian Harman: Tee time has role in slow-play punishments for Tour players Associated Press via GolfWeek.com
"The next year, I was in the first three groups and I was put on the clock six times,” he said. “And I was the 12th-fastest guy based on ShotLink data. They sent me a letter saying, ‘See what you can do to help out.’ I sent them one back and said, ‘What do I do? I’m your 12th-fastest player.'"
It's a positive for the sport that the various tours are finally taking slow play seriously. They need to do a better job of identifying who the slow players are. There is no reason a player should be penalized in any way for the actions of their playing partner.
For us amateurs, having a course ranger tell our group to pick up the pace is embarrassing. It falls on our shoulders to identify why our group is slow and work as a group to pick up the pace. The penalties we face for not complying are far less serious than those faced by tour players.
A typical professional tournament has a slew of officials following every pairing. It doesn't seem unreasonable to have one of their duties to be the identification of players within each group who are causing consistently slow play.
Institute a system of warnings and penalties and put the pressure on the individual who is guilty. To expect a competitor to change their rhythm of play because of a bad pairing is unreasonable. To also expect professionals to use peer pressure to influence traditionally slow players to pick up their pace is unfair. Do we really expect a tour rookie to walk up to Jason Day and tell him to pick up the pace?
Tour players have enough pressure on them as it is. Hopefully, the tours will realize that group penalties are not within the spirit of the rules of the game.