June 11, 2008

The Angry Golfer: Undue Work Stoppages

Yeah, it's the U.S. Open, but should a guy's nachos go cold so a prince of golf can line up his three-inch tap in?

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- The guy was 30 or 40 yards behind the 12th green, his arms full of stuff purchased from a nearby concession stand, although there really wasn't any place in the immediate vicinity to buy a hot dog. This gentleman had walked a fair distance and spent a considerable amount of money on all the food he was carrying, perhaps for his wife and a couple of kids, but as his journey took him well clear of the action at the 12th, a player backed away from his six-footer for par and waited until the dude stopped dead in his tracks.

He did. The player missed his putt and the guy resumed his walk, at which point a caddie in the group hollered, "Everybody hold up! We've got one more to go!"

Look, I know it's the U.S. Open, a totally big deal, but this guy probably paid $100 to get in the gate, maybe a whole lot more if he brought his family. I've got a problem with the idea that he has to stand still for 90 seconds while his nachos go cold and some tour pro sizes up a tap-in. This particular group was not playing slowly, but if we're serious about speeding up the pace of the game, especially at its biggest tournaments, these undue stoppages of play are part of the reason rounds are taking five hours.

Seriously, is there anything worse than cold cheese on your $6 basket of tortilla chips?