The PGA must do more to stop slow play

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As Jordan Spieth prepares to defend his Masters green jacket, the PGA are coming under fire for failing to crack down on slow play within golf.

The Masters at Augusta National is the most watched golf tournament of the season, but golf viewers have shorter attention spans than ever before.

Golf is a leisurely sport. You'd be hard-pressed to find a golf tournament described as frenetic.


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Captivating and spellbinding are adjectives more synonymous with the game. And that's what makes golf what it is. The concentration under extreme pressure.

A problem arises however when players start taking over a minute to simply ascertain their line of approach.

That's before mentioning the bizarre pre-shot routines which seem to have become increasingly commonplace.

From Jason Dufner's infamous 'waggle' to Keegan Bradley's tense stare-down with his own ball, certain pros seem to be developing a form of golfing OCD.

World number one Jason Day was roundly criticised for his tedious final round after winning the WGC match play tournament recently.

His new tongue-in-cheek nickname of 'Jason AllDay' references the amount of time it takes him to plod his way through 18 holes.

Day took a mind-numbing six hours to navigate the Austin Country Club. For reference, the target time for completing a round at St. Andrews is 3 hours 57 minutes.

The basic guideline on pace of play in PGA Tour Tournaments is the same as you'd find down at your local golf club. Simply keep up with the group in front.

If you fall more than one hole behind you're supposed to let the group behind play though. A course marshal can even request that you skip a hole to get back on pace.

Obviously neither of these things happen in professional tournaments. If a group is behind the pace a course official will notify those players in that they are now 'on the clock' and begin timing their shots.

From that point onwards for the remainder of the round, players in that group are given 40 seconds to play each shot - apart from in exceptional circumstances where they receive an extra 20 seconds.

The problem is the penalties for breaching the time-limit and being given a 'bad time' are too lenient to act as a proper deterrent.

For infringing upon the 40-second limit a player is simply warned again. Big deal.

Do it again and they are handed a $5000 fine and a one stroke penalty. A third time ratchets it up to a $10000 and the loss of two shots.

These players earn millions of dollars over the course of a season and the fines are peanuts to them.

Admittedly a fourth warning results in disqualification but that's a myth. The stroke penalties occur about as often as Liverpool winning the Premier League. Literally.

The current world number one isn't the first Day to struggle with keeping up with the pace of the game. In 1995, a player named Glen Day was handed a penalty stroke for slow play.

Any relation to a certain Jason Day I hear you ask? Sadly not.

The rules are simply not enforced anywhere near stringently enough. Officials will turn a blind eye so as to not kick up a fuss.

The only time you're ever likely to see a golfer running is when it means he won't have to get up early the next day.

Check out Ian Poulter playing speed golf to finish his round before the klaxon goes off, in order to avoid having to get out of bed at 5am the next day.

Realistically the PGA will only take proper action when viewing and attendance figures fall. Or enough people complain on Twitter.

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Keegan Bradley
Jason Dufner
US Masters
Tiger Woods

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