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'Bad time' for slow golfers

Reuters/California
Filed on January 15, 2020
Paul Casey says it is time for slow golf players to take responsibility. - AFP

Under the new PGA Tour policy, slow golfers will be put on an "observation list" and expected to play their shots in under 60 seconds on average. Those failing to meet the one-minute requirement will receive a warning for their first bad time.

Golf world number 17 Paul Casey said it is time for players to "take responsibility" for their slow play and hopes a PGA Tour policy announced on Tuesday will fix the age-old problem.

The policy, effective in April after a three-month education period, will see "habitually slow players" identified using objective data and penalised for taking too long to hit a shot.

Though the majority of golfers play at an acceptable speed, slow play is a perennial issue, with fast golfers routinely frustrated with their slower-playing competitors.

The tour decided to revamp its policy in August after Bryson DeChambeau was ridiculed on social media when a video circulated of him taking more than two minutes to hit a putt.

"We're looking for guys to take responsibility, because hitting a standard golf shot and taking two, two-and-a-half minutes to play it is not acceptable," Casey said.

Under the new policy, slow golfers will be put on an "observation list" and expected to play their shots in under 60 seconds on average. Those failing to meet the one-minute requirement will receive a warning for their first bad time.

A one-stroke penalty will be handed out for a second bad time, with a further one-shot penalty for each subsequent bad time.

Anyone else on the field who takes more than two minutes to play a single shot, in the absence of a good reason for doing so, will be given an "excessive shot time" and if they transgress again will be placed on the observation list.

Casey, a member of the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council, does not think slow play should be a difficult problem to solve.

"That was our feeling, it should be a fairly simple thing to fix so hopefully this fixes it," Casey said. "Fairly painless gains to be honest."

While the PGA Tour's new policy is still three months away, the European Tour will implement a similar policy this week at the Abu Dhabi Championship.


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