Pressel slow play ruling was nonsense says this reader.
Slow play is the topic of the day, with NBC/Golf Channel commentator Dottie Pepper
being the latest to jump in. We've received lots of comment on it, including a number of letters on the Morgan Pressel ruling at the LPGA's Sybase Match Play Championship. We found this one interesting. Read till the end or you may miss his POV.
Penalties in golf are a means to an end; penalizing a player for getting an advantage in golf. When one hits a ball out of bounds, the penalty is to hit the next shot from where the previous shot was struck, with a penalty stroke added to the score. Almost all rules and penalties are designed to create a level playing field for players and an equitable adjustment if such equity is violated.
The rule for slow play is an example of a means to an end; to speed up play to ensure everyone can play at the same pace throughout the day. Clearly the rule is applicable when there are 144 people on the course in a tournament. It is also applicable when the PGA Tour, for example, sends out half the participants in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. Pace of play is essential to ensure equity and finishing the round in a single day.
The application of a penalty to Morgan Pressel is total B.S.! There was nobody else on the golf course and that twosome wasn't holding anybody up. Since the purpose of the rule is to speed up play so those behind, or still on the course, aren't inordinately slowed down, assessing penalties for slowing down no one is unacceptable!
Those who live their lives where the rules are to be mindlessly obeyed instead of used as tools to maintain equity in everyday situations, are "rule Nazis." Over time, some may accept this totalitarian bent, but for many of us, this type of mindless adherence to the rules makes life intolerable. Golf was never meant to be intolerable; hit the ball, go find it and hit it again. Do it quickly if someone is behind you but don't worry about it if you're the last one on the course; enjoy the setting sun.
There has also been a pretty informed discussion
of the ruling and the subject of slow play on our sister site, GolfWrx.com over the past few days. Here's one representative post:
I have no issue with the rule or the ruling - these are exactly the types of situations which will bring light to the issue of slow play...they were warned, put on the clock and failed to play within the rules...I don't see where "common sense" comes into play...if I get caught speeding on the way to my wedding or on the way to a job interview, don't think the cop cares much either way...
Bill, you're very persuasive, but we're going to side with Topekareal. If penalties exist to keep the playing field fair, then all players should have to adhere to a reasonable pace of play, whether they're being pushed or not, whether they're playing the course by themselves or not. I happen to think there's a greater good here--keeping the game sane, attractive and, for wont of a better word, athletic. I don't believe players should have limitless amounts of time to fiddle, figure and futz before they hit. There comes a time to fire. Too many professionals and college players are turning the game into a series of meetings punctuated by an overly-wrought shot (preceded by 2 to 10 similarly overly-wrought practice swings). Did the LPGA get the Pressel penalty exactly right? I'm not sure, but I am sure there has to be many more slow play penalties before the game gets back on track.