A host of players have defended professional golf from its stigma of slow play. Brooks Koepka isn't one of them.
Pace of play has increasingly become an issue for the sport's top circuits, and it was in the spotlight again over the weekend thanks to Bryson DeChambeau's deliberate pre-shot preparation at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Both Koepka and DeChambeau are playing in this week's European Tour event in Saudi Arabia. Speaking on Golf Monthly's podcast to Michael Weston, Koepka was asked about his thoughts on the criticism DeChambeau and other players have received for slow play. The three-time major winner did not sugarcoat his response.
“I just don’t understand how it takes a minute and 20 seconds, a minute and 15 to hit a golf ball; it’s not that hard,” Koepka told Weston. "It’s always between two clubs; there’s a miss short, there’s a miss long. It really drives me nuts especially when it’s a long hitter because you know you’ve got two other guys or at least one guy that’s hitting before you so you can do all your calculations; you should have your numbers. Obviously if you’re the first guy you might take ten extra seconds, but it doesn’t take that long to hit the ball, especially if it’s not blowing 30. If it’s blowing 30 I understand taking a minute and taking some extra time with some gusts, you know changing just slightly, I get that but if it’s a calm day there’s no excuse.
“Guys are already so slow it’s kind of embarrassing. I just don’t get why you enforce some things and don’t enforce others.”
DeChambeau separately addressed the issue with reporters, taking a more defensive stance on the matter.
“It’s actually quite impressive that we’re able to get all that stuff done in 45 seconds; people don’t realize that it’s very difficult to do everything we do in 45 seconds,” DeChambeau said on Tuesday. “I think that anybody that has an issue with it, I understand, but we’re playing for our livelihoods out here, and this is what we want to do. If we want to provide the best entertainment for you, it’s part of our process, or it’s part of my process, at least.”
DeChambeau partially blames his lack of experience for his measured approach. He says he's put on the clock "almost every week" but is accustomed to it now. Still, it's not his intention.
“We try and speed up,” DeChambeau said. “Trust me, we do our due diligence to speed up and do our best. We’re not trying to slow anyone down. I’m not trying to slow anyone down. It’s just a part of the process, and unfortunately the Rules of Golf allow for a certain amount of time, and we’re (using it) to our fullest potential.”
Koepka is playing this week with Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, while DeChambeau is teeing it up with Ian Poulter and Thorbjørn Olesen.