Outside of some of Darwin's rants on the topic, Links Magazine's George Peper pens the best slow play column I've read in a long time, tackling all of the key points and asking all of the right questions. He explains the USGA's promising new pace of play, something I wrote about for the L.A. Times earlier this year (naturally, it's disappeared from their archives!).
Thankfully George presents it here much better than I did, then takes it a step further and questions why this has not been implemented already.
OK, the system isn’t perfect. So what? Golf isn’t an exact science. In fact, it’s not a science at all, despite the proclivity of some tour players to treat each shot as an exhaustive experiment in physics, geometry, agronomy, meteorology, kinesthetics and psychology. Say the USGA comes down hard on a few players. What’s the downside? A whine or two from the likes of Ben Crane? I suspect they’d be drowned out by the chorus of approval from their peers. Besides, the system has a built-in appeals process, so every accused offender has the opportunity for a postround hearing.
Moreover, when it comes to pace of play, there is no reason for the USGA or R&A to be as fearful as they are of regulating equipment—imposing a limit on time will not bring a billion-dollar lawsuit from Rolex. Nor can they hide behind the other rationale they’ve used on equipment—that most amateur golfers want to keep the status quo. Most amateurs may want to hit the ball longer, but they don’t want to stay on the course longer.
Still the sense is that the USGA is taking the same timid stance as they have on the question of throttling back the golf ball: Let the PGA Tour take the lead.
Fine. Now that a sound and defensible system is in place, maybe Tim Finchem will show some courage and business sense. Seven years ago, the commissioner challenged the game’s movers and shakers to transform golf into America’s No. 1 spectator sport. Instead, television ratings are down and golf participation over the past decade has been flat at best. One big reason: Golf is slow, both playing and watching.
I remain convinced that if the PGA Tour's VP's and players ever paid to go to one of their events and tried to spectate, they would quickly launch an emergency initiative to do something about pace of play.