Kevin Na’s meticulous (even frustratingly annoying) pre-shot routine at The Players Championship had everyone debating the problem of slow play on the PGA Tour, so Tiger Woods offered an approach to speed up the turtles.
“Very simple,” Woods told reporters after finishing in a share of 40th at TPC Sawgrass. “If you get a warning, you get a penalty.”
Sounds good, except that Woods had a somewhat different take on the matter back in 2009 at the Bridgestone Invitational when he publicly blasted a rules official for putting him and Padraig Harrington on the clock because of their snail-like pace. Back then, when Woods was at the top of his game and the world golf rankings, European Tour official John Paramor said he repeatedly warned the two to move along.
Woods later blamed Paramor for his opponent’s meltdown on the 16th hole at Firestone, when Harrington scuffled to a triple-bogey eight and effectively ended his run at Woods, who was a shot behind when the two teed off and three strokes ahead by the time they left the green. While Harrington put on a game public face, Woods blamed Paramor for ruining “a great battle” by rushing Harrington into a poor shot.
Fast-forward to Sunday, and Woods was all about penalizing players for incurring the warnings he and Harrington did three years ago. He wouldn’t even wait for the second “bad time” ruling to assess a stroke punishment, as rules call for now. One bad time and you lose a shot, end of story.
“What people don’t realize is that one shot is so valuable out here,” Woods said.”We have gotten slower on tour. College has gotten just incredibly slow. It's so bad that now we are giving the guys the ability to use lasers to try to speed up play, and they are still in, you know, 5:45, 6:00 plus.”
Slow play on tour -- and in golf in general -- is a never-ending conundrum for those playing the game and those trying to move said players along. One thing’s for sure -- the boorish taunting and bullying golfers for pace of play, as some “fans” did to Na on Sunday, has no place on any golf course. Too bad officials can’t assess penalties on those guys.