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Monday, February 18, 2019

Will Slow Play Cause Networks to Show Less Golf?

Here we are again. Another Monday listening to and reading about slow play on the PGA Tour. The conditions on Sunday afternoon were indeed challenging at Riviera. It was a long day for everyone with so much golf to be played due to foul weather on Thursday compressing the calendar. However, slow play on the PGA tour is certainly not a new problem. 5-hour rounds are now the expected and not the exception.

In an interview with the Golf Channel, Adam Scott proposed that slow play simply won't end until it becomes a matter of money.
I mean, I'll tell you my thing on slow play is it's never going to change. I think, Just get over it. Until television and sponsors say, 'No more money,' slow play ain't going to change.
 Of course, it will have to come down to money in one way or another. It's a professional tour. It's nearly all about the money. Is Scott right that nothing will change until the networks and sponsors complain? I suppose it's possible but that sounds like waiting for the house to catch fire before repairing the loose wires you just found. We all know there's a problem. The PGA Tour needs to take care of this. The recently revised rules of golf even give them the tools to do so:

Rule 5-6-b-3

Committee Pace of Play Policy. To encourage and enforce prompt play, the Committee should adopt a Local Rule setting a Pace of Play Policy.

This Policy may set a maximum time to complete a round, a hole or series of holes and a stroke, and it may set penalties for not following the Policy.

We've all heard the problems with enforcing these rules. What is the penalty? How do you tell who in a group is to blame for the slow play? Once play has slowed, how do you catch back up without causing the quality of play to be diminished? Can you really tell a player to pick up the pace when they're coming down the stretch to win a major?

And the big one: Will the various ruling bodies take a victory away from a player because they took too long?

Let's put our heads together, the tours, the sponsors, the networks, and, yes, the fans and get this figured out. It will be painful because we won't get it right the first time. We have to start somewhere. The house is about to catch fire.

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