Reader says Fisher's penalty was too much: $80,000.
We find it interesting that the first letter to arrive Sunday's very dramatic events was not about Tiger Woods, the Memorial, or even Stacy Lewis' grand win. It was about slow play, or more specifically, the slow-play penalty assessed against Ross Fisher in Wales.
I’m a long time Golf World subscriber and occasional letter-writer. I noticed that not much has been made of the 1 stroke penalty Ross Fisher received for slow play in the tournament in Wales. But if you calculate the cost of that penalty, you'll find it was approximately $80,000! That is an awful lot of money to be fined, especially on a day when there were wet conditions which also contributed to the slow play. Plus, that penalty put Mr. Fisher two (or maybe even three, I can't remember, but there was a 3-stroke swing between Mr. Jaidee and him) strokes back of the leader and that affects the manner in which a player proceeds toward the end of a tournament.
I know slow play is a problem with which the tour must deal; however, when the PGA (or any tour) considers just how much each stroke means to the players these days, not only in the amount of money involved but in how their season (and in some extreme cases their career) can be affected by a single additional stroke (see the LPGA tournament from two weeks ago), discretion and caution must be used. I, for one can deal with (in fact, I don't mind it at all except when I'm on the course) slow play. But, there is simply too much at stake for the players to think a knee-jerk, "just penalize the culprits" policy will solve the problem.
We also continue to receive mail about the last professional slow-play penalty assessed--the one against Morgan Pressel at the Sybase Match Play
. This letter reacted to Ron Sirak's column about the penalty.
Ron Sirak is all wet. He says that the penalty imposed on Morgan Pressel seemed unfair, but "the rule was properly enforced." How about this? The slow play rules have no place in match play! For goodness sake, there were only 4 people on the golf course. I am certain that the spectators wanted the play to go on longer, not to end early. Match play, so admired by golf writers, brings with it the healthy tradition of gamesmanship and psyche. If you're out with a speed demon, you dawdle. If you're with a slow boat, you either match his pace or try to drag him along in your wake. If you're just away on a makeable putt, you study it from each and every angle while your opponent sweats his shorter effort. When the going gets tough you grind. Get with it, guys. You want match play, you get the whole package. Think Walter Hagen!
Skip Reinhard, Bridgewater, NJ
There are plenty of people on the Golf World and Golf Digest staffs who agree with both of you. This writer is not one of them. These two imposition of penalties for slow play are among the best things that have happened to our sport, both the professional game and the version we amateurs play, in years. You don't have to agree, but some of us think golf is a game to be played in time, not outside of it, with an eye on the clock, just as with other sports. Should a player who can't make a decision about putt within 45 seconds be entitled to the kinds of prizes professionals play for? We don't think so. It's time to pull the trigger on slow play.