Justin Thomas, Commissioner Jay Monahan Have J.B. Holmes' Slow-Playing Back

It's hardly a shocker that someone who speeds up a shot in hopes of taking advantage of a backstopping ball on the green has no problem with J.B. Holmes pitching a tent, even when at the expense of his playing partner and the PGA Tour product.

But that's Justin Thomas' view of last Sunday's debacle.

Brentley Romine, writing for Golfweek from the Waste Management Open, includes this from the current PGA Champion and Player Of The Year:

“I have J.B.’s back all day on that situation,” Thomas said Wednesday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. “It bothered me and I hate it for him. I went up to him (Tuesday) and told him … it was a great tournament for him, but I have a hard time saying I wouldn’t do anything differently than he did.

Again, nothing bad times and a penalty stroke now and then wouldn't fix. Or a "spirit of the rules" class.

Sadly, Commissioner Jay Monahan missed an opportunity to address speed of play, essentially confirming he will continue the do-nothing approach of his predecessor Tim Finchem.

From The Forecaddie's report from TPC Scottsdale where Monahan played the Wednesday pro-am and made excuses for Holmes taking over 4 minutes to play a shot:

“As it relates to J.B. … He was in the heat of the moment. It’s really hard to win out here. You’re trying to think through how you can get on the green in two with that amount of wind. I think he thought it would subside quickly, and it subsided and picked back up, and I think he said what he needed to say.”

There you go boys, take all the time you need until you get the wind you like.

Chubby On The Rebound: European Tour Challenge Tournament With Par Putting Banned!

John Huggan of Golf World talks to beleaguered 10-percenter Chubby Chandler as the ink dries on his divorce from longtime pal Lee Westwood and other players (Willett, Fox) who left the ISM stable.

While Chandler likens the Westwood split to a divorce--with confidentiality agreements in place to ensure we never know why--Chandler is moving forward and one of his passion projects involves a European Challenge Tour event where par putting is not tolerated.

By way of example, next year’s European Challenge Tour is expected to feature an event that Chandler has a hand in in which par will be every player’s “friend.” In a bid to finally win the seemingly never-ending battle with slow play, every competitor will be banned from putting for par. As soon as a birdie has not been achieved, it will be ball-in-pocket and on to the next hole.

“It won’t just be that par doesn’t count. The players will be banned from putting out once they haven’t made a birdie,” Chandler says. “That way they will all be round in three hours. We will have two points for a birdie, five for an eagle and eight for an albatross. That’s been done before. But no putting for par, which counts as zero. So you can’t knock it out of a bunker to four-feet and putt for par. Not allowed. And that’s where things will speed up.”

Players will also get double points if they hole-out from off the green, and all points will double on the last three holes. “Everybody is in with a chance right to the end,” Chandler says. “That might all turn out wrong. But it could also be really exciting. We’ll see. We’re not changing the game that much. We’re just making it quicker and getting rid of the dull bits. No one really gives a bleep about eight-footers for par.”

 And yet, that's semingly all we ever see. So bring it on!

Player Reactions Suggest Shot Clock Golf Might Get Ugly

I was fascinated reading the different takes to next year's Shot Clock Masters on the European Tour if nothing else because they were so far apart in assessing pace.

Josh Berhow at Golf.com included this quote from Dustin Johnson, asked if more tournaments should have a shot clock.

"Yeah, absolutely," he said on Wednesday, prior to the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, when asked if he would like to see a shot clock on the PGA Tour. "I think it would be very interesting. You'd see a lot of guys getting penalties on our Tour. Yeah, that would be quite fun, actually. I'd have plenty of time but there's a lot of guys that wouldn't. They would be getting a penalty on every hole."

And then there is Henrik Stenson, who plays at a very nice clip when he's on, but can be shockingly slow when he is game is off. Ready golf is not his thing when he's struggling, so if he plays in the Shot Clock Masters he might be in for a rude awakening. A penalty-a-hole awakening:

"I think you can tell that on any golf course around the world on a Saturday morning game, if you have players that are ready to play and hitting and when it's their turn, it can be very quick," Stenson said. "But if you have a foursome where the other three are standing around waiting, while one player is doing his hole preparation and execution, then it's going to be a very slow game. It's certainly enough time, as long as you are preparing while the others are hitting and getting ready."

This Will Actually Be A European Tour Event Title: The Shot Clock Masters

We knew next June's Austrian Open was going to take slow play seriously with shot clocks and penalties and referrees. But this? The Shot Clock Masters...near Vienna. Psychoanalysis free of charge.

Alistair Tait fleshes out some of the details for Golfweek.com but does not reveal what the winner's jacket might look like. A track suit jacket perhaps?

Every player will be timed on every shot in Austria. The other big difference from GolfSixes is that the event will use the Tour’s official timing policy. Each player in the 120-man field will have 50 seconds for the first player in a group, with 40 seconds for subsequent players. A one-shot penalty will be handed out to players going over the time limit, and a red card will appear beside their name on the leaderboard.

European Tour To Unveil Shot Clock At '18 Austrian Open

Alasdair Reid reports for The Times that a shot clock will be part of next June's Austrian Open, replete with group referees, 40 second limits and one-shot penalties.

Reid says European Tour tournament committee member David Howell supports the idea but is concerned that we won't see great recovery shots if this became a regular practice. However, Howell says the committee signed off because the event in question can have its field size reduced.

“We’ve discussed it and agreed it should take place,” Howell said. “Among the committee, we think it’s worthwhile trialling that week in those specific circumstances. The field is not the strongest so it can be shortened without doing anyone too much harm. That allows the opportunity to get around quickly, so that’s why it is that week.”

Romo Hit With Slow Play Penalty En Route To Western Cut Miss

Former Cowboys QB and scratch golfer Tony Romo struggled in his Western Amateur debut, but the future CBS football analyst did struggle to keep pace, writes the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein.

Romo beat only two of the 155 players who completed 36 holes, and he was assessed a one-stroke penalty Wednesday for slow play.

"He was very gracious about it," Western Golf Association tournament chief Vince Pellegrino said. "His group fell behind and missed two checkpoints. The others in the group did not receive a penalty. They made an effort to close the gap. Tony readily accepted it."

The WGA invited Romo to draw more eyes to the event and highlight the outstanding play of amateurs such as Florida State's John Pak, who shot a competitive course-record 63 on Wednesday, and Illinois' Nick Hardy.

PGA Tour Doing "Comprehensive" Slow Play Review

Bob Harig kicks off Players week with an extensive ESPN.com profile of new Commissioner Jay Monahan.

Much of what Monahan says mirrors comments he made on ShackHouse (message discipline students take notice!), but one area we did not cover on the show stood out in Harig's piece. Monahan, to date, has brushed aside most pace of play talk. But this sounds like he's taking a harder look at the matter.

"As it relates to slow play, a lot has happened behind the scenes in the last 12 to 18 months. We've developed a Shotlink dashboard for our rules officials where you can at any point in time see where a player is relative to time-par, see where a player is relative to their own historical averages. And we disclose all that information to the players, and so the players are well aware. (Players are only given information about themselves, not other players.) They have access now.

"And we're in the midst of a comprehensive review on pace of play. It's not something that we just say it's our policy and that's how it's always going to be. We recognize that with technology, we can be far more intelligent about what's happening. Now what do you do with it? I would venture to say at this point we are taking a good hard look at it.''

PGA Tour's Slow Play Policy Needs Work (First)

As the European Tour unveils a shot clock this weekend at GolfSixes, AP's Doug Ferguson considers the PGA Tour's first slow play penalty in nearly 22 years and says the policy is the problem.

Talking to players who did cite the right causes (fast greens, Brian Harman) or reasons no action has occurred sooner (tournaments somehow finishing on time, Pat Perez), it still comes down to policy.

Here's what is not in the book - when players are put on the clock, that's not their first interaction with a rules official. They first are asked to pick up the pace, a courtesy to allow for outside circumstances (such as a lost ball). Secondly, while timing is not an exact science, players are not given a bad time if they go a few seconds over the limit. A bad time generally is a really bad time.

Either way, it's a bad policy.

''If a slow player gets behind and they're asked to pick it up, the first question they ask is, 'Am I on the clock?' Because if they're not on the clock, they're not going to change,'' Haas said. ''If they are on the clock, they change. I don't like that. Because then all they do is run down the fairway.''

Kerr Apologizes For Slow Play; LPGA Still Mum On The Insanity Of Playing The Same (Lame) Hole Six Times

Credit Cristie Kerr for taking to Twitter to (sort of) apologize for her deliberate tactics in Sunday's Volunteers of America Shootout. But the silence from the LPGA Tour, which damaged its product in the name of bringing golfers back to corporate tents over and over again, and noted here in Randall Mell's GolfChannel.com rant. The move did a disservice to Las Colinas Country Club and the tournament. Given that this is not the first time a playoff has done this merry-go-round, the tour deserves the hits being leveled.

The Kerr Tweets:

 

 

LPGA Nightmare: Playoff Tests The 18th Hole Six Times, Cristie Kerr Slow Plays

The LPGA had a chance to share the spotlight with a rain-delayed Zurich Classic on Golf Channel, and while the network (in my biased view) did a solid job managing a real traffic jam, they could not overcome the LPGA product failings.

Namely that the tour, even after criticism following past deja-vu-all-over-again fiascos, insisted on conducting a sudden death playoff on only one hole. That would be Las Colinas's less-than-perfect 18th hole.

This meant eventual winner Haru Nomura and slow-poke Cristie Kerr played the 18th hole six excruciating times.

And then there was Kerr, who played at a painfully slow clip and was eventually called out by lead analyst Judy Rankin for trying to slow play her opponent. Twitter appreciated Rankin's tough call.

 Rooting for Cristie Kerr to lose now. Glad Judy Rankin finally called her out for the ridiculous slow play. Rather see PGA finish only here.

To be clear, none of this taints Nomura's win in the Volunteers of America Shootout. In fact, the world No. 18 ability to channel Kerr's gamesmanship and the lousy playoff hole makes it that much more impressive.

Will Gray at GolfChannel.com on how this does, however, taint the LPGA:

The LPGA should have learned from that particularly monotonous ending, but apparently they did not. So let Sunday’s anticlimactic conclusion outside Dallas serve as final reinforcement that any playoff rotation that calls for the same hole over and over needs to be thrown away and promptly re-written.

The LPGA should have learned from that particularly monotonous ending, but apparently they did not. So let Sunday’s anticlimactic conclusion outside Dallas serve as final reinforcement that any playoff rotation that calls for the same hole over and over needs to be thrown away and promptly re-written.

Not To Be Outdone, Euro Tour Hands Lee A Slow Play Penalty

The PGA Tour's first slow play penalty since the Clinton Administration's first term awoke the world's pace policeman emeritus, John Paramor.

The same European Tour rules official who penalized a 14-year-old playing in the Masters, did not even wait 48 hours to be outdone. This time, Paramor added a stroke to Soomin Lee's card following his third bad Volvo China Open time.

From Alistair Tait's Golfweek story:

Lee had already been handed two bad times before European Tour chief referee John Paramor informed Lee he’d picked up a third bad time on the 14th. The 23-year-old’s bogey on the par 4 turned into a double bogey, and contributed to his 1-over 73 to move him to joint seventh

Paramor delivers the news here...I love seeing Lee start running immediately. See, penalties work!

The First PGA Tour Slow Play Penalty Since 1995 Is...Something!

Okay so it wasn't proud slow poke Ben Crane or one of the other known non-ready golf turtles. And no, it wasn't exactly the kind of self-indulgent pacing that you'd love to see rewarded with a penalty.

We have to start somewhere!

Golfweek's Jeff Babineau with the details of Brian Campbell and Miguel Angel Cabrallo--yes they are confirmed PGA Tour golfers--teaming up in Thursday's foursomes to take Glen Day off the hook.

Campbell and Carballo, originally alternates in this event who got in as a team when Kevin Chappell (already in the field) captured the Valero Texas Open on Sunday, were paired with two local club professionals from the Gulf States PGA Section, section champion Kyle Ramey and his partner, Phil Schmitt, who played at LSU. The group fell out of position on the 10th hole, and an official notified both teams they were on the clock.

Carballo (warning) and Campbell (penalty) each failed to play shots within the 40 seconds allowed under the pace-of-play policy, and were informed on 14 that they’d be penalized a stroke. Ramey and Schmitt had one bad time, and received a warning.

“Team event, we’re playing with section pros, who were struggling a bit, hate to say it, but it kind of put us behind the clock,” Campbell said. “When you keep hitting bad shots, it’s hard to catch up time.”

Blaming the section pros...Jay, I have Pete on line one!

So this wasn't quite the example-setting moment we'd all hoped for to make PGA Tour golf a better in-person. Or to actually send a message to those who have thumbed their nose at the pace policy. I'll still take it though!

Slow Play Files: Tom Gillis Uses Twitter To Heckle Slow Poke Ben Crane Into Settling Bet

I've seen some interesting uses of Twitter and while this one borders on extortion and surely kept the Fines Department working overtime, few will have sympathy for Ben Crane given his consistent refusal to become a faster player. Or apparently, to pay off a bet.

Regarded as the slowest player by his peers for well over a decade now, Crane was called out by fellow PGA Tour player Tom Gillis for not paying off a bet with an unnamed friend of Gillis. He also threw in a reference to Crane's Minister for good measure.

Gillis went on to respond to many and clarified money was not owed him.

Golfweek's Kevin Casey has a roundup of the Gillis Tweets, including a suggestion that Crane is now planning to pay up, and a follow up Instagram post from Charley Hoffman, who is calling out Crane as well. Of course, few sympathize with Crane, who disrupts the rhythm of his playing partners with his pacing and makes watching the PGA Tour "product" insufferable when he's standing before you. But he has been enabled his entire career by Tim Finchem's desire to not see players publicly penalized or recognized for their rude ways. Sad it comes to this kind of petty social media bickering but...he earned it.

Even NFL Commish Goodell Is Looking To Speed Up His Product (Take Note Golf)

In an open letter to fans, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made clear he's looking for ways to speed up the game experience with clocks and eliminating a silly post-touchdown commercial break.

Goodell writes, according to Deadspin:

Regarding game timing, we’re going to institute a play clock following the extra point when television does not take a break, and we’re considering instituting a play clock after a touchdown. We’re also going to standardize the starting of the clock after a runner goes out-of-bounds, and standardize halftime lengths in all games, so we return to the action as quickly as possible. Those are just a few of the elements we are working on to improve the pace of our game.

This has Goodell joining Major League Baseball and the NBA seeking ways to expedite their proceedings. The PGA Tour and once-hot-to-trot European Tour, meanwhile have not budged in their stance on pace of play.

New European Tour Commissioner Keith Pelley had shown signs of taking action, but has gone quiet.

New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has said he sees no need to expedite the pace of rounds.

Players, on the other hand, do not agree.

Check out the results from SI/Golf.com's player poll:

Is slow play a problem on the PGA Tour?

YES: 84%
NO: 16%

Loose lips: "It's not as big a deal as people make it out to be."
"Rookies are too slow because they overanalyze everything."
"One million percent YES."
"Sometimes."
"It's a small problem."
"Only a few guys cause a problem."

Regarding a shot clock, I'm not sure how it would work and I'm guessing most players don't either. But that didn't stop a surprising number from voting for one.

Should the PGA Tour institute a shot clock

NO: 58%
YES: 40%
No comment: 2%

Loose lips: "I'm not opposed."
"No, there are other ways without doing that."
"There have to be other solutions."
"I like the idea, but there has to be something better."
"How about we enforce the current rules instead?"
"No, we just need more common sense. It's silly when a guy takes forever from the middle of the fairway. There needs to be give and take."
"How about we enforce something sometime? And not on a 13-year-old kid at the Masters. What a joke!"
"There is no way that's going to happen."
"Yes, and we need to enforce penalties."
"No, but slow players need to penalized. They're hurting the field."

Society is changing, sport is changing and golf is holding its ground on the length of its already long proceedings. Mind-boggling. 

Jay Monahan's Golf Digest My Shot On Playoffs, The Value Of League-Owned Networks, Slow Play

New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan spoke to Guy Yocom for another excellent Golf Digest My Shot and while I always urge you to read the full interview, a couple of comments stood out.

Much to chew on in this first one:

WHAT DO I ADMIRE MOST ABOUT OTHER MAJOR-LEAGUE SPORTS? Two things. One, the way the NFL, MLB, the NBA and the NHL conclude their seasons. I love where we are with the FedEx Cup, but keep in mind it's only 10 years along, is still evolving, and we're always on the lookout for ways to sharpen our postseason-playoff structure.

Oh yes, the playoffs are definitely ending before Labor Day. But those sports also conclude their seasons with much more compelling playoff formats, so let's hope this is more than just a calendar adjustment.

Two, I admire the way they build and market their brands through their own networks. Having a 24/7 presence has served those sports very, very well.

Someone wants his own network!

While those networks were all essentially offspring to the Golf Channel and have been successful to some degree, has the 24/7 presence of the MLB Network really sold that many more seats or created new fans? And is that a risk worth taking, or just a negotiating ploy for 2021 when the current Golf Channel deal ends?

As for slow play, like his predecessor, he's punting for now:

WHICH TAKES US TO THE SUBJECT OF SLOW PLAY. I don't see a problem with rounds on our tour taking four hours, 45 minutes, because it's been consistent around that number for a long time. What drives the small amount of criticism is the impulse in the modern world to do everything faster than we did it last year. So am I going to push for faster rounds? As it stands, no.

Ready Golf Makes A Difference? The R&A Says So And Plans To Show How

Major League Baseball is threatening to fundamentally change a small but occasionally comical element of its sport in lieu of telling batters to stay in the box, which makes the R&A's gentler push for a speed-up tactic more appealing.

Martin Dempster reports that "ready golf" is going to be implemented at The Amateur's stroke play proceedings this year after other trial runs.

He quotes R&A Chief at Martin Slumbers at length, who also scolds players for not yelling fore in response to Pat Perez beaning a spectator Sunday at Riviera after not yelling fore (the landing area on that hole can't hear or see the tee, but I digress...)

On the topic of ready golf...

“When you get to the professional level, there’s no doubt in my mind that the professionals are role models, and they are fantastic role models for young people. They’re healthy, they’re fit, they’re strong 
and they’ve got unbelievable skill. “But part of that role model is pace of play, and there is no doubt that younger generations take a steer from them. So I think I would just encourage the Tour pros to realise that pace of play is part of them being that role model, and it’s not helpful to growing the amateur game when the youngsters are slowing down.

Interestingly, the R&A has guidelines for proper ready golf.

And at the Irish Close Championship last year, they reported a 45-minute round improvement when ready golf was implemented.

While this doesn't address distance, green speed and the refusal to penalize (where hath you gone Keith Pelley?), ready golf is at least something and the R&A is going to earn huge points for being at the forefront of the slow play issue.

When It's Okay To Be Slow vs. Just Plain Rude

After getting to see some solid PGA Tour action and some not-so-solid pace of play, I have read with interest Karen Crouse's New York Times story from Riviera on the topic. Leadership in golf has generally--with exceptions--signalled a desire not to act. 

Going forward I believe we need to separate the issue a few ways so as to not allow the issue to be clouded by excuses.

1.Length of round for the everyday game.

WSJ's Jason Gay included golf in this humorous roundup of what sports are doing to speed things up for an increasingly distracted younger generation.

It isn’t just the big leagues that are worried. It’s every sport. And it isn’t only the sports we watch on TV—it’s the sports we all play, too. Every game needs to be fast. Golf, in particular, is in a high panic that asking anyone under 80 years old to play 18 holes is like asking them to take a month-long canoe trip down the Amazon.

Are you kidding me? Eighteen holes of golf? What do you think I am, dead?

Speed is the rage, we’re all constantly told. People want experiences that are quick and effective and capable of being packed into a torrent of life events. My Journal columns, for example, are now mostly read on mobile phones by readers who are parachuting out of airplanes while using Instagram, fighting robot dinosaurs and making lunches for their kids.

2. Consistently slow golfers who disregard the 45 second rule and fail to play ready golf. There are some--like Ben Crane--who has spent over a decade taking too long to play even a basic shot. Because they're "nice guys" or they make light of their pace in lame videos, they get a pass. When their play is so disproportionately slow compared to their peers, the behavior is unbecoming of a professional golfer. From an in-person spectator view, such play will make people stay at home instead of coming to pro golf tournaments. And its rude to a player's peers.

John Feinstein and I tackled this question on Golf Central today. While I agree with those who say penalty shots are the only solution, I'm increasingly of the view that the only way to make people speed up is to shame in the form of huge (published) fines, reporting each week's bad times and/or having a bonus pool that rewards faster golfers based on ShotLink data.

3. Golfers taking their sweet time in a high-pressure situation. This is the issue Crouse considers in her piece, with Jason Day as the centerpiece. While he is perpetually slow, I think we all understand his view that he should not rush a key shot down the stretch. He even cites the support of Tiger Woods.

However, Day's argument falls flat because he is slow all of the time. Tiger plays at a normal clip, buying some political capital when he has set up shop over a key shot. Same deal with Phil Mickelson. And from what I saw of Jordan Spieth last week when paired with rabbits Bubba Watson and Bill Haas, he's moved into the same category as Tiger and Phil.

Crouse writes:

The movement to speed up the game is driven by the fear that it will not appeal to today’s youth with their increasingly short attention spans or older golfers with limited free time for recreational pursuits. “Is there a way to take 25 minutes off the average round, and is that necessarily going to make for a better product or presentation?” Monahan asked. “It’s not apparent.”

It's also not apparent what the bonus is of watching any round of golf take 25 minutes longer than is necessary.

He noted that events not affected by weather delays or extra holes were being completed within the telecast window, which, like airline flight schedules, is padded to allow for lag time.

“So much of the beauty of what you see week in and week out is what a player faces and how they deal with that,” Monahan added. “Do they change their mannerisms? Do they change their preshot routine? How are they handling that situation?”

Which speaks to the last point: such slow play is interesting when it's a leader down the stretch. But on Thursday to Saturday, the sport is turning people off who come to golf tournaments and watch people stand around.

Commish Monahan Pledges Tour Return To Miami, Shorter Playoffs

New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan sat down with Golf Channel's Rich Lerner at Kapalua, with part one of their chat airing on Monday's Golf Central (part two is set for Tuesday's Morning Drive).

He touches on slow play at the 7 minute mark and the answer isn't encouraging given that he cites the tour's ability to sign off on time for television as a sign that things are okay.

But of more immediate note were remarks on trying to return to the Miami market, but probably not to the president-elect's Trump Doral.

“Like any relationship, we’re committed to finding a way to get back there.”

Monahan said the Tour continues to seek a new sponsor for the Miami stop, which has been a Tour stable since 1962, and that it’s “highly likely” that the circuit would return to South Florida.

But at Trump Doral? Monahan was not that specific.

As for the impact Trump’s presidency...

“We see president-elect Trump as being probably the best golfer to ever sit in office and probably the most golf knowledgeable,” he said. “For the game, that’s a tremendous thing.”

Best golfer to ever sit in the White House? They say the president from Massachusetts was pretty good.

He seemed to lower expectations for a potential PGA Tour schedule ending by Labor Day, but did confirm that if the PGA of America moves its championship to May and all other dominos fall, that the playoffs will be shortened by one tournament.

Monahan said no decisions on possible changes have been made and that the other players in the mix, most notably the PGA of America which would give up its spot as the year’s last major, would need to see the value of a possible makeover.

“It’s not as though we’re going to say this is the schedule, everyone has to adapt,” he said. “Our responsibility is to work very closely with the PGA of America and it’s got to work for everybody.”

Another piece of those changes would likely be a reduction of the number of FedEx Cup Playoff events, from four to three, and Monahan confirmed postseason contraction is a consideration. “If we were to execute the schedule that I just mentioned I think it’s likely,” he said.

Based on sponsorship contracts, that would likely mean the end of the Boston stop, leaving New York and Chicago/Midwest as the two "playoff" events.

Part one here:

Day Opens The Door For New Commish To Attack Slow Play

New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan probably took a few aspirin when he saw that world No. 1 Jason Day returned from time off and, unprompted, proudly touted plans to play slower in 2017.

After all, the new Commish has more on his plate than you'd expect given the supposedly great product Saint Finchem left behind. Big picture stuff like trying to fix a confusing schedule, repairing relations with sponsors and keeping FedEx around should be Monahan's first-month priority instead of jumping in on the slow play debate.

But did Day just hand Monahan the perfect opening to attack the slow play problem?

Because of Finchem's many blind spots related to the actual product of PGA Tour golf, none was more perverse and damaging as his desire to see pace of play policies ignored. Finchem prioritized protecting the gentleman's game imagery above the gentlemanly behavior of playing golf at a considerate pace. Finchem never shied from bragging about his players taking hats off and shaking hands for the 18th green cameras.

Slow players? That could be swept under the rug because television wouldn't show someone rudely taking three minutes to play a shot, until they started showing such antics down the stretch because they had no choice. Then a Sean O'Hair or Kevin Na or Jason Day made it apparent how ungentlemanly it is for someone with PGA Tour level talent to take that long to hit a shot, and the Commissioner openly resisted penalty shots.

It is no coincidence that in the nearly 20 years Finchem was in office, the last penalty occurred in his first months on the job and never since. He also worked to undermine the stature of his officials by prolonging contract negotiations and underpaying the unionized force charged with enforcing the rules. And don't think players were oblivious to this neutralization of the referees or the amount of time that has passed since the last penalty (1995).

Even the USGA appeared has bowed to Finchem, implementing its very effective pace of play system at all but the one of its championships. It just happens to be the one where coddled PGA Tour players play: the U.S. Open.

Now that Finchem is retired, the PGA Tour slowpokes' sense of taking as much time as they'd like came flooding out of Day's mouth prior to Kapalua's 2017 season kickoff event. With no fear of being penalized and a rumored $10 million a year from Nike to pay any minor fines, Day made clear he's not going to rush himself.

The full comment:

Imagine a pitcher declaring that he will not throw a pitch until he's ready or a free-throw shooter backing off five times before taking a free shot? The leagues would crack down. 

In an era when no sport can afford to be seen as slowing down, the PGA Tour has shied away from enforcement that might help solve the problem. However, a new commissioner is in town and he's just been given a natural opening to push back.

Monahan shied away from taking a strong stand on slow play in a Q&A at PGATour.com earlier this week, understandably not needing to start his tenure off on a combative foot. Yet Jason Day has uttered comments  far removed from the simple reality that the PGA Tour survives on its entertainment value, not on how it pads Day's bank account. The suggestion he will back off until he's ready made clear Day's entitlement level runs so deep that even his truest believers might not feel sorry to see a PGA Tour rules official stalking him around Kapalua. And Torrey Pines. Or any fairway he pitches his tent upon to indulge himself at the expense of our viewing pleasure.