When guys on the PGA Tour play slowly, I can't help but be critical of them. I'm not alone; Tiger Woods has complained about the pace of play, too.The problem? Players aren't ready to hit when it's their turn. During the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, for example, Sean O'Hair took nearly a minute and a half to play his shot at the par-3 17th after the green had cleared. That's too long.The irony is that O'Hair didn't play college golf where the pace of play is deliberate and where players ingrain slow-play habits.The tour has rules to discourage slow play, but it has been 16 years since a player was penalized a stroke (for two bad times). If we saw more penalties, we'd see faster play.
In stroke and match play, the player has "control" of his ball. Meaning, you can mark your ball on the green as long as another ball isn't in motion.From 1960 to 1983 the rule in match play was different. A player "controlled" his opponent's ball. If his ball was in a position to assist you (it might help your ball carom into the cup or slow it down, for example), you could ask your opponent to mark his ball but leave it in place. If your ball struck his, there was no penalty; he replaced his ball at his mark, and you played your ball from where it came to rest. The rule was changed to its current form in 1984.