Monday, May 21, 2012

LPGA makes a point about slow play

   More than belly putters and bad pants, slow play is the bane of professional golf.
   It fits with the shanks and 'carts on path' as the worst things in the game.
   So when the LPGA took the shocking step of penalizing Morgan Pressel in the Sybase Match Play Championship Sunday it sent a message across the tour that, at least for one day, the tour is intent on doing something to speed the pace of play. Good for the LPGA Tour. Others talk about it but that's all they do.
   It long ago became apparent that fining PGA Tour players doesn't change the pace of play. It's going to take adding shots to players' scores -- and doing it regularly -- to have an impact. Some of the players will fight the idea but others would endorse it. Wouldn't it be nice if the PGA Tour could change its slogan to 'These Guys Are Fast?"
   The problem with what the LPGA did was the timing of it.
   With all the stroke-play tournaments, it seems strange that the tour chose Sunday when there were only four players on the course to drop a bomb on Pressel, who doesn't have the rep for being slow. The penalty had a huge impact, costing her a hole she thought she'd won, turning a what would have been a 3-up advantage through 12 holes to a 1-up advantage that eventually went away.
   Pressel suggested she was penalized for opponent Azahara Munoz's slow play, though Pressel admittedly took a long time on the 12th hole, trying to figure out which club to hit in the gusting wind.
   Slow-play penalties should be part of the game and they should be administered fairly.
   The LPGA made a point Sunday.
   Let's hope it's not a one-time, one-tour thing.


Anonymous said...

Another suggestion: Only allow players to mark their ball on the green if it obstructs another player's putt. It's ridiculous to see players keep picking up the ball then replacing it, just to line up a mark on the ball.