In contrast to Commissioner-Slow-Play-Penalties-Give-Me-The-Willies, new European Tour chief Keith Pelley has sought to differentiate himself by voicing his disdain for slow play. You may recall that Tim Finchem has openly suggested that actual enforcement of the rules (and leading to penalties) bugs him and he's also questioned the desire to play faster, citing in epic out-of-touch fashion how you don't want to play fast around Cypress, Augusta and Pine Valley. But Pelley? He's declaring a "personal war."
The Golf Paper's Adam Ellis reports.
Ironically, his announcement in Dubai yesterday came just 48 hours after an incident in the final hour of the BMW Masters in Shanghai, where Spain’s Sergio Garcia was involved in a 15-minute discussion with a referee over where he should drop his ball after hitting it into the lake beside the 18th green at Lake Malaren.
“Slow play drives me mad,” said Pelley.
“I have had the chance to talk to a number of players at all levels – the elite, the medium and low-ranked players – and one of the things that keeps coming up, and which we are going to address, is slow play.
“We are going to be the leaders in dealing with slow play.
“I cannot tell you what that means from a concrete perspective right now, but I have had significant dialogue with Martin Slumbers from The R&A, and they are in violent agreement that it is something we need to deal with.
Violent agreement! I guess that means you haven't brought up how the ball going too far leads to deadly backups.
There is a conference call next week with The R&A. We will participate in it and do this in cooperation.
“I can tell you that when we sit here next year we will have a completely different philosophy on slow play. Slow play is a critical part of our game and we will address it.”
Good luck with that, especially judging by the quotes of Martin Slumbers, new R&A head man, talking about the release of the R&A's report discussed in St. Andrews this week. From a report by Phil Goodlad & John Barnes, Slumbers talking:
"Maybe we need some marshals out on the course to help find balls," he added. "Maybe we need to play over shorter formats, nine-hole golf; playing off tees that are further forward, not cutting the rough as thick and deep as possible.
Not cutting the rough as thick and deep as possible? I don't even know where to begin with that, but I suspect explaining to him that rough is a product of offsetting modern distances might be lost on the R&A's head man?
"But the key thing is getting people aware and recognising that playing reasonably quickly and getting a move on isn't just good for their game but fair to everybody out on the course."
Enforce those time pars!