According to a junior-golf executive, this is the true 'culprit' of slow play on the PGA Tour.
According to a junior-golf executive, this is the true ‘culprit’ of slow play on the PGA Tour.© Images AGN

According to a junior-golf executive, this is the true ‘culprit’ of slow play on the PGA Tour.

Slow play is always a big topic of talk, from the PGA Tour to your local course. Recently, though, the debate has heated up after some high-profile incidents of slow play on Tour.

Now, the head of the board of directors of the American Junior Golf Association is getting involved. He has found a “culprit” and a way to fix the problem of slow play.

In a letter published Tuesday on Global Golf Post, Jim Nugent, who is also the founder and publisher of GGP as well as the president of the AJGA, said that even though he was “hardly objective” in the situation, the junior golf league has already found a way to speed up the pace of play at tournaments, and the pro tours would do well to follow it.

Is Patrick Cantlay a slow player in real life? Here are his thoughts: By: Alan Bastable. © Provided by Golf

Nugent said that the AJGA’s efforts to speed up the game, which started in 2003, have had an effect. Nugent says that the average time for a three-person team to finish a round in an AJGA event over the past 10 years has been “four hours and 23 minutes.”

On the PGA Tour, rounds tend to take much longer. At this year’s Masters, Patrick Cantlay and Viktor Hovland’s pace on Sunday, when they were the second-to-last pair, was criticised a lot. Brooks Koepka, who was in the last group with them and Jon Rahm, put the blame on them in public after the event.

“Yeah, the people in front of us were moving at a snail’s pace,” Koepka said. “Jon Rahm went to the toilet about seven times during the round, and we were still waiting.”

Cantlay and Hovland’s final round at Augusta is thought to have taken them four hours and 45 minutes, but that’s as a twosome. Three-person teams on the PGA Tour sometimes take longer than five hours.

Matt Fitzpatrick, who won the RBC Heritage last week, talked about slow play on the Tour in an interview with Jamie Weir of Sky Sports last week. He also mentioned a goal time for threesomes.

Fitzpatrick told Sky Sports, “If you’re in a three-ball, you should be able to play a round in four hours, four-and-a-half hours at the very most. It’s a disgrace to get anywhere close to that.” “You’re talking [five hours, 15 minutes], five-and-a-half hours at some venues, and it’s really terrible.”

But if youth golfers are so good at keeping up a fast pace in tournaments, why do so many of them slow down so much when they move up to the Tour?

Nugent also had an explanation for that. He says that college golf is to blame.

“Those looking for a reason why the PGA Tour moves slowly should not look at young people but at the college game,” Nugent wrote. “I have said for years, only half in jest, that AJGA players who go on to play in NCAA Division I must spend the first two weeks on campus being “deprogrammed” so they can get used to six-hour games of golf. Everything that the AJGA has taught these kids is quickly forgotten.

Lee Trevino says what he thinks about slow play and uses Jack Nicklaus’s penalty as an example. Written by Jessica Marksbury. © Provided by Golf

Nugent said, “It’s no wonder that so many players come to the PGA Tour expecting to play slowly.”

How does the AJGA keep the game going? Nugent says that at AJGA games, of which there will be 130 in 2023 alone, players “are expected to play ready golf and walk with purpose between shots.” Once a person holes out, the game moves on to the next hole, whether or not the other players are done. Even if another person is looking for their ball or trying to figure out a tricky rule, you keep playing.

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But responsibility is important for this system to work, and critics say that Tour doesn’t have enough of it. Coloured cards are used in the AJGA. At six checkpoints all over the course, players are given a green card if they are moving fast enough, a red card as a warning that they are falling behind, and a double red card, which is a one-stroke punishment, if they don’t speed up.

Nugent said that in 2022, there were 3,689 red cards, but only eight participants got two.

According to our Top 100 Teachers, there are 8 rules about how fast golfers should play. By: Nick Dimengo. © Provided by Golf

In 2020, the PGA Tour will start enforcing new rules about speed of play, including a “Observation List” of players who have taken an average of more than 45 seconds per shot over their last 10 events.

Players on the Observation List, which is about 20–25 people, are told before the event starts that they must make every shot in that tournament within 60 seconds. If a rules official sees them not doing this, each of them will be timed on their own. In the end, a player who is being watched will get a one-stroke penalty if he has two bad times in a round.

However, slow-play fines on the PGA Tour are not made public, unlike the AJGA’s Observation List, and they seem to be applied less strictly than on the AJGA. Since the new rule was put in place, not a single player has been given a stroke punishment.

An official in junior golf says that this is the real “cause” of slow play on the PGA Tour. This story first appeared on Golf.

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