Jerry Tarde shelves his traditional editor's column in favor of a Q&A with buddy David Fay. While I enjoyed the chat, it's disappointing that Fay did not use the slow play question to advocate the implementation of the USGA's more stringent pace of play policy that's in effect at all but the U.S. Open.
Who's to blame for slow play, and why don't you ever penalize anybody when a threesome takes five hours to play 18 holes in the Open?
No one and everyone, I guess. Just about all big-league sports, including baseball, football and hoops, are taking longer, and so is golf. And it's not the action itself -- throwing, hitting, shooting -- it's the routines and histrionics leading up that eat up time. Over the years, we've all increased the acceptable time to play a round. Which is a bit like dealing with a weight problem by buying larger-waist trousers. It's easy for slowpokes to beat the system. A player has to be obstinate and/or dumb to get a penalty for slow play.
The station concept requires that players have the flagstick in the hole at the fourth, ninth, 13th and 18th hole stations, otherwise a group’s first missed time results in a warning, the second results in a one-shot penalty for each golfer. The third missed time means a two-shot penalty and the fourth time, possible DQ. The USGA feels that it needs the PGA Tour to use a similar system before it springs the idea on players at the U.S. Open. Sigh...