Last weekend’s Farmers Insurance Open should have been remembered for Tiger Woods returning to competitive golf and posting a better-than-expected finish in the top 30 and Jason Day winning in a 6-hole playoff that finished on Monday due to darkness on Sunday night. Unfortunately, what most die-hard types are talking about are the beyond-ridiculous four minutes and ten seconds it took for JB Holmes to play his second shot on 18 on Sunday.
You read this correctly; it took JB four minutes and ten seconds to play one shot. For the record, if someone I got stuck playing with pulled this, they’re getting left behind.
Golf already has a litany of issues; adding a televised slow play meltdown at a time when CBS was cutting into their coverage of the Grammy Awards was at best terrible. When Jim Nantz calls you out on live TV (he might have had an early dinner reservation for all I know, but still) for slow play, there’s a problem never mind all the people who wanted to watch the Grammy Awards getting pissed His fellow tour pros called him out on Twitter (calling him in his face en masse afterwards would have been preferable). The final threesome took six hours to finish and finished more than a hole and a half behind the group in front of them (at most public courses you’d have the marshal/player assistant/golf police drop the hammer). People wonder why slow play is a problem; it’s because people see this on TV and when they go to their local course they do the same crap (glacial pace of play, taking forever to read a green when putting, etc.).
Making matters worse, Holmes responded with something along the lines of not knowing he had a homework assignment due. He didn’t know how long he was taking was his actual excuse, which is some straight up bad etiquette. Again, pull this at any public course and the other people in your group and the marshal/ranger is going to light you up (and they should).
The solution is simple; the rules say it’s 40 seconds to pull a club and complete your shot. Two warnings, then a stroke penalty. Anything longer than 60 seconds is an automatic stroke penalty. Three stroke penalties in a tournament and it’s an automatic DQ. Two DQ’s in a season and you’re ineligible for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Three and you lose your card and are ineligible for sponsor exemptions. Make Ready Golf mandatory for PGA Tour events. I’d go so far as to set a daily time par based on the course, weather conditions, and how early/late the player goes out and make finishing outside a threshold of the time par a stroke penalty. Until you start hitting players where it hurts (on their scorecard, making them ineligible for playoffs and losing their Tour card), you’ll see the same crap every week.
SONG OF THE DAY
NOW IS THE TIME ON SPROCKETS WHEN WE DANCE.