The crowds were not huge – 42,000 in the first three days – and they were quiet and subdued. They had little to shout about. The championship turned into a battle of attrition and birdies and eagles were few and far between.
The biggest issue, however, was the pace of play. The LPGA in the United States promotes its tour with the slogan “These Girls Rock”. More appropriately, it could read: “These Girls Rock You to Sleep”.
On the first two days, rounds were taking more than six hours and there were players still on the course when play was suspended on the first day just after 9.30pm. On the Saturday, television coverage ended with the leaders yet to finish.
Too often players were not ready to play when it was their turn. In one instance, Natalie Gulbis waited for her playing partners to hit approach shots to the green before taking a club. Then, after checking her yardages with her caddie (60 yards), she had a couple of swishes with the club before deciding to change it.
The putting, too, is painful. The average men’s professional three-ball takes about 3min 30sec to clear the green. The women, many of whom seem over-reliant on their caddies to help them, are taking five minutes on average. And that is boring.
“Championship course” is a catch-penny label used by resort developers and signifies only that the course in question is a dreary slog of over 7,000 yards for anyone foolish enough to play it off the back tees.