Quick. What gets readers going like slow play? Nothing.
When Jack Nicklaus recounted during his pre-Memorial Tournament press conference
two instances when he'd been penalized for slow play, we could hear a chorus of readers shouting, "See. If it's good enough for Jack, it's good enough for these guys!"
With the possible exception of Eldrick Woods, nothing energizes you like the subject of slow play. And as with the Woods, there is a vast divide between the, well, quick and the quicksand.
What set a lot of a recent spate of emails was the Morgan Pressel penalization this month, but your feelings went far beyond that. Here's a sampling....
I am sick and tired about hearing and reading all about the "controversial" slow play penalty incurred by Morgan Pressel recently. The players were warned and put on the clock. Unfortunately, Ms. Pressel got a slow time and was assessed a penalty of one hole. The entire transaction was handled exactly as the LPGA rules required.
The real controversy that this incident highlights is that the LPGA has the spine to enforce their slow play rules; the PGA Tour does not.
Terry Smail, Seattle
All the talk about slow play and no one is really doing anything about it. The USGA should change the rules about devices used to measure the distance to the pin or the greens. It makes no sense to complain about slow play and place distance markers and allow them to use them when a GPS device can save a couple of minutes per hole. Also amend the rules for lost balls. Give a player any amount of time he/she needs to find one or one minute when another group comes up to the tee box.
Five-and-a-half-hour rounds of tournament golf is an old problem that has survived many half-hearted solutions. To correct the problem will require a significant change in the way the game is now played, and any proposed change, large or small, will produce much criticism. Here is a way to solve the problem. When all players reach the green, allow one minute--maybe a minute and a half--for all to read their putts. Then, begin the putting allowing thirty seconds for each player to make his first stroke and continuously putt until he/she has holed-out. Playing time would be reduced by an hour or more. I can the screams already.
Kudos to the LPGA for enforcing their rules. I am a huge fan of Morgan's and sad to see the outcome. However, a note for the PGA tour. (No one has had the guts to publish this suggestion, perhaps you will). On the first tee the first group is told "You will finish in 4 hours or less or all of you will be DQ'd." Each subsequent group is told, "You will be standing in the 18th fairway ready to hit your final approach shot when the previous group holes out or all of you will be disqualified." If the PGA Tour would have the guts to do that, amateurs and professionals would not only play faster, they would play better.
Fred Brattain, Corona CA
We like the spirit of that last letter. Penalties must hurt, and the penalties that Nicklaus and Pressel suffered did. Warnings mean nothing.