"Slow play is a legitimate issue, but not to the point where I think we need to do something like that."
Another head-scratcher from Commissioner Tim Finchem, this time in John Feinstein's Golf World column on slow play:
Of course, it has been 18 years since a PGA Tour player received a stroke penalty for slow play -- and Finchem doesn't sound as though he wants to see it happen again anytime soon.
"Slow play is a legitimate issue," he said, "but not to the point where I think we need to do something like that. The real problem isn't how long it takes to play a round but when one player makes it uncomfortable for the other player or players because of his pace. That's just bad etiquette. And it's true, we do have some players who are in denial about being slow."
So is the Commissioner sending out word, or has sent out word that he does not want a stroke penalty assessed? We know he's not a fan of controversy, so it wouldn't be a stretch to think he's sent word that penalty shots are brand-averse.
Gary Van Sickle also tackled slow play this week for SI and did it in very entertaining fashion. Naturally, he picked the one week they actually played faster at The Players, but he still offers several insights into the problem and a glossary of slow play handbook.
Clockblocked - Forget Greenwich Mean Time. On the PGA Tour, Time Par (no relation to Old Man Par) is what matters. Time Par is the time it should take to play each hole, as determined by the rules crew after careful study. At the Players, for instance, Time Par was two hours, 14 minutes for the front nine and 2:15 for the back, plus five minutes to make the turn. Time Par for the entire round by a threesome was 4:34, 3:58 for a twosome.
The 40 Time - How cool would it be if golf, like basketball, had a shot clock? It would be handy too, because once a group has been alerted that it's on the clock, a player has 40 seconds to hit his shot once it's his turn. The first to play the tee shot on a par-3, a second shot on a par-4 or par-5, a third shot on a par-5 or a stroke near or on the green, gets an additional 20 seconds. If a player exceeds his allotted time, he receives a bad timing.