Sunday, May 18, 2008

One Guy Doesn't Get it About Slow Play

Michael Collins writes for the Golf Channel and covers golf on PGA Tour Radio on XM. He wrote his weekly column for and it is about slow play.

Yes, we’re slow; do you work for a chance at 9 million bucks a week? No? Then shut up.

If I hear one more person complain about slow play I’m going to punch ‘em in the nose and look at their face as they try to figure out how, and what just happened.

Last week at THE PLAYERS I’m on the fifth hole waiting by the green for Tom Lehman and Greg Kraft to putt out so I can call the shots of Phil Mickelson and Bernhard Langer when this “Goober” in a NASCAR hat, dirty t-shirt, and 13 teeth says to me, “These guys are too damned slow. Look at this Bill Shaft guy (he meant Greg Kraft), he’s backed off this putt twice already and it’s only 4 feet.”

I patiently waited for Greg to drain his putt (nice par save); he did back off four times, before I turned back to “Goober” and said, “Yeah, I bet you’d be much faster than these guys out there if you were playing.”
Collins, I hate to tell you, but you looked bad in this situation for two reasons: (1) you just publicly stereotyped a golf fan so you could feel superior to him in your opinion and (2) you actually talked back to the fan in the first place.

The exchange continued, though.
“So if it takes the best players in the world five-and-a-half hours to play a course with 35 mph winds and greens you couldn’t hit, more or less putt, maybe you should respect the fact that for 9.5 million they’re here giving it their all while you’re in THAT hat and t-shirt drinking a beer complaining. What do you do for a living?”
I believe the Internet expression is lollerskates. Seriously, that is terrible as a response and a rationale.

Guys in the NBA play for entire seasons for double or even triple that amount of money. They get five seconds to do something with the ball and 24 to get a shot off as a team. Baseball games are getting faster on the average. The NFL looks to speed up play. College football - notoriously slow - is enacting rules to increase the pace.

Basically, golf is the only major sport on the map that is getting slower. And, actually, only the PGA Tour is getting slower. American players have commented that the pace is much better in Europe. The LPGA Tour has enacted a serious slow play policy that is universally loved. Why the excuses, then?

Interestingly enough, Collins does understand the reasons for slow play. He talks about them in his column. Some are players themselves, some are logistics of the Tour, some are set up based. Despite responding to the fan commentator, he does seem to understand the issue.

He does offer one ridiculous suggestion - snipers - but then calls for a shot clock of 45 seconds per shot. That is basically the LPGA Tour policy +15 seconds per shot. That's something that I could live with for sure.

Also, Mike, I'll have my guard up when I meet you some day because I will be expecting that punch in the face.

UPDATE 1:29pm Monday - That link on the front page came down awfully quickly!

1 comment:

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