NEWPORT WALES - OCTOBER 02: Dottie Pepper commentates for NBC during the rescheduled Afternoon Foursome Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 2 2010 in Newport Wales. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Dottie Pepper's no fan of slow play in golf.
Slow play has been in the spotlight on both the LPGA and PGA Tours this year, and the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open brought it back to the fore. With Michelle Wie and Suzann Pettersen bringing up the rear as the final pair on Saturday, they finally made the turn in more than three hours -- a pace that would drive even the everyday golfer to distraction.
For sure, the Slowskis had an impact on a clearly frustrated Pettersen, who began the day with a one-stroke lead over Wie but limped in with a 6-over 78 and a share of seventh place.
“It was hard to get a rhythm to start off. It took forever to play. A lot of holdups,” she told reporters after her round, which brought her to 1-over for the week and nine shots back of leader Na Yeon Choi. “I felt like I made the turn, and one over. Just lost a little bit there at the back nine.”
NBC’s Dottie Pepper, who has logged a few Opens (19, in fact) in her time on tour, knows how challenging pin positions and USGA-long tracks can bog down the field. Still, she believes the creepy crawlers need to step up the pace out there and offered some suggestions for professional players and hackers alike -- although such common sense practices should be part of every pro’s routine.
“The players just need to be ready to play,” Pepper said as Pettersen and Wie, who also shot a 78, scuffled to the end of their rounds. “You see it over and over again: the players aren’t organized, they’re waiting until it’s their turn to play as oppose to getting the pre-shot stuff done. Get the yardage figured out, where the wind is, figure out your shot, hit it when it’s your turn.”
If the players choose not to follow such simple recommendations, it’s up to the on-course cops to enforce the rules.
“The officials need to stand on the initial groups much more than they have in the past,” Pepper said. “There’s a time card that needs to be adhered to as closely as possible; it’s out there for a reason.”
As for “standing on” players, Morgan Pressel -- who withdrew from the event on Friday with a sore thumb -- has felt the wrath of such penalties when officials assessed her the loss of a hole in the semifinal of the Sybase Match Play Championship in May.
At the end of play on Saturday, no player had received any penalties for slow play, no doubt much to Pepper’s chagrin.