The PGA Tour needs to hurry up and punish players like J.B. Holmes
J.B. Holmes picked up his first PGA Tour victory since 2015 on Sunday when he fought off Justin Thomas to win the Genesis Open at famed Riviera CC in Los Angeles.
But all that anyone wanted to talk about, both during, and after the final round was how dreadfully slow Holmes played. The criticisms were fair and accurate because for the most part it was brutally painful to watch.
The talk of slow play on the PGA Tour has been going on for years but it has really picked up lately as it seems more and more players are taking their sweet time over each and every shot of their round. It’s turning into a serious problem for the PGA Tour, which is trying to market its game to a younger crowd. And it’s something the Tour must quickly fix, by simply punishing slow players during the round, because the longer this goes on the more people are going to tune out.
Who really wants to watch moments like this from Sunday, when it took Holmes basically forever to putt:
Last Sunday’s final group of Holmes, who’s known for being one of the slowest guys on Tour, Thomas, and Adam Scott needed five hours and 29 minutes to complete their round, which is just insane.
Yup, that is a bonafide problem for the PGA Tour.
So why is this becoming such an issue? Mostly because nobody is punishing these players for their slow play. There are rules on the books for pace of play and groups do get put on the clock sometimes if they fall behind the group in front of them but individual players don’t get penalized at all for their slow play.
In other words, why would would you speed up if you know you’re not going to get punished?
Adam Scott, who isn’t a slow player, thinks this problem will just continue to be a thing because of two things, according to Golf Digest:
“There’s a big media fuss, a big feeling [among fans] that we play slow, and we do, but the tour is an entertainment business and a big money maker for a lot of people,” the 38-year-old Australian said. “Until sponsors and TV tell the commissioner you guys play too slow and we’re not putting money up, it’s a waste of time talking about because it’s not going to change.”
And it’s true. The PGA Tour most likely doesn’t want to step in during a final round and change the flow of the tournament’s leaderboard by docking a player a stroke.
But it’s what should be done because you have to think one punishment could be all it takes to speed things up for quite some time.
Until that happens, fans, at least those who are still watching, are going to have to sit through more mind-boggling moments like those of Bryson DeChambeau. DeChambeau is brutally slow no matter where he’s playing.
Could you imagine a casual fan tuning in at the moment? Think they are going to stick around for more of that riveting action?
No, they aren’t.
What golf really needs is more players like Dustin Johnson, who provided his ideal pre-shot routine earlier this year:
DJ's pre-shot calculations aren't quite as complicated as Bryson DeChambeau's - "I get a number, I see what way the wind is blowing and I hit it." 😂
The PGA Tour has arguably never been better than it is right now, with tons of big-name players that fans love to watch battle each week.
But if this slow play stuff keeps happening, which it seems like it will, fans are just going to start tuning out.
And the PGA Tour will have nobody to blame but themselves.