Slow play, male and female

August 26, 2009

Golf Channel says that Solheim Cup ratings beat the last edition and though some of us were embarrassed by the face-painted, hair-ribboned, cheerleading U.S. jingoism, it was great competition and tight until to the end. The end, however, took a long time to reach and we've received some mail about the pace of play. Coming on the heels of the Tour controversy following the clocking of Woods and Harrington at Firestone, one reader suggests that the ladies linger longer. __

Dear Editor, SIX hours for the morning four ball matches. What an absolute and total disgrace to game and rules of golf. Where are the Officials? Where is the respect for the game of golf? Four groups of professional (?) golfers playing in SIX hours. There were pages written about Woods and Harrington falling a little over a hole behind at Firestone, while still completing their rounds in less than four hours. I am guessing that Professional Sports Writers and Professional Rules Officials will not take the Women to task, nor do anything in the other series of matches to prevent this disgrace! You want know what is wrong with the LPGA, just re-watch the Friday morning four ball matches at the Solheim Cup. John T. Johnson

__> John, I question your "under four hours" for Tiger and Padraig at Firestone, but agree with your point of view entirely. I have friends who question whether it matters; what's the difference is someone plays slowly on television--we don't have to watch it all. That's true, but we have to watch (and play behind) the 15-handicapper who sees the rigamarole the Solheimers go through before hitting a shot and they do the same. If I see another weekend warrior walking around the fairway with no club in his hand marching off yardage, I'll strangle him with a hair ribbon. And why ask, "Am I away?" If it's that close, hit it. Don't get me started...but you did. We got another letter with a very different point of view reacting to John Hawkins' Angry Golfer about the Woods/Harrington warning. Hawk was sympathetic to the stars and so was this reader... __

Dear John Hawkins, I hate slow play, like every other golfer, but it only bothers me, when two things occur. Beginners, who should not be on a golf course at their level of ability, if they can not advance the ball, properly, or when they think they can hit like John Daly and wait forever before hitting. I do get angry over the STUPID rule about the space between groups. It makes NO sense and is contrary to the rules. If a golfer is allowed time to find his ball, and other reasons for a delay, and you then multiply that by four, meaning what if all four golfers are in trouble on the same hole and the group in front of them are very low-handicap golfers and are playing very well that day, what are the high-handicappers to do? Pick up their balls and run to close the gap. Must the game be ruined because of TV time schedules or because of course revenues? How about shortening the rough on public courses so it is easier to find a ball? Par 3 holes that want you to wave the group behind them up. That also makes no sense. Just what a high-handicap golfer needs, more pressure to perform. Most times, they will mess up the shot. I've timed it, nothing is gained most times! I agreed with you and Tiger. They should NOT have been put on the clock! Sal T.

__> Sal, I don't think you can have it both ways. The slow-motion weekend amateur gets his moves from Tiger and Paddy and Christina and Cristie. Waive the rules for them and wave your four-hour round good-bye. --Bob Carney