Editors' BlogSeptember 3, 2009

The slow play virus

The FedEx Cup playoffs move to Chicago, but your heart is in the slow play debate and your letters prove that while professional golf occupies a great deal of space in our publications, what's really important to you is your game. And how slow it's getting.


Dear Editor,>

Interesting to get a candid perspective from one who enforces the rules at PGA Tour events. But > Slugger White is quoted as saying he "doesn't believe you should affect a man's livlihood with a stopwatch." Could I suggest then, that he either has an in depth conversation with John Paramor, or vociferously campaigns for a rule change before the next time two competitors are locked in a compelling battle for the outcome of a World Golf event, vis a vis Firestone a few weeks ago.? I'm sure Padraig Harrington would have appreciated the courtesy on that tournament's 16th hole. >



Andrew Howard.

Apple Valley, CA

__Dear Editor,>

I'm sure when Slugger White was quoted as saying, "I don't believe you should affect a man's livelihood with a stopwatch," didn't stop to consider that time is an important factor in almost all competitive sports. all forms of racing , track and field, football etc. even the NBA has a 24 second clock. Slow play is a virus that has spread from the PGA tour to all levels of play, and will continue to be a hindrance to he growth of the game. we need more officials with the courage of John Paramor. In Gene Sarazen's last interview, he was asked how he would like to be out there today playing for multi-million dollar purses, he replied "i would have a lot of trouble. These guys play way too slow for me."__

Harve Shaprow

Boynton Beach, FL

Obviously, the "virus" you refer to is not only the tour professional's fault. Our magazines--directly and inadvertently--promote an overly analytical approach to the game. The USGA, in its desire to create a more perfect handicap system, has trained us to count every stroke and whiff. We live on match play, but for ego or handicap reasons feel the need to finish holes when we're out of them. We're deluded; we think that calculating every shot's distance, to the yard, is going to make us more accurate. We mistake languidness for luxury. Some golfers, I think, go through a round slowly because every other part of their lives is a sprint and this deceleration just feels good. They walk around fairways with no clubs in their hands, tugging on their gloves, sizing things up like major-generals, then return to their carts as if striding back to headquarters. Reality returns when they have to actually hit the shot.

It's golf, I guess, but without the walk, the fun, the wonder.

--Bob Carney