USGA bares its pace-of-play teeth for U.S. Open at Merion

David Cannon

Bubba and his big-hitting buddies, DJ and Nicolas, received a slow-play warning at USGA’s flagship event.

Bubba Watson may be a bomber, but apparently, he’s not the speediest of golfers. He may also become the poster child for the USGA’s new pace-of-play campaign, as he and his big-hitting buddies Dustin Johnson and Nicolas Colsaerts bore the brunt of the “While We’re Young” initiative the organizers of the U.S. Open debuted on Wednesday.

Officials alerted Watson, party of three, that they were on the clock as they dawdled along the fairways of Merion Golf Club in their second round on Friday. Seems veteran European Tour rules cop John Paramor took the slow-play plan -- and Annika Sorenstam’s suggestion -- seriously and attempted to prod the slowpokes along.

“The USGA [has] to kind of follow through because it wouldn’t look good if it was extremely slow and then you have these campaigns running this week,” Sorenstam, who stars in one of many USGA PSAs running during the tourney, told SB Nation earlier this week.

The USGA's rule 6-7 states, in part, that a golfer who does not play "without undue delay" shall incur penalties that begin with a warning, may escalate to one and two strokes, and can eventually end with a disqualification.

Paramor, golf fans may recall, is the guy who came under fire for assessing a one-shot penalty on 14-year-old Guan Tianlang during the Masters in April. He’s also the official Tiger Woods blasted back in 2009 when he made Padraig Harrington pick up the pace at the Bridgestone Invitational.

Given the infrequency with which PGA Tour pros hear they need to move along, there appeared to be some confusion about which ones were the culprits

Like Harrington, who went on to make a snowman at Firestone after his clock warning, Bubba and DJ made a hash of things as they attempted to keep up, while Colsaerts (even-par for the week) tried to keep the distraction of his imploding playing partners to a minimum. Watson carded a bogey and two doubles and was at 6-over for the week after 11 holes on Friday, while DJ was at 7-over with four bogeys and a double.

More golf from SB Nation:

Tiger feels the misery of Merion | Why do we cheer for Tiger?

Merion's metal flagsticks troll Scott Langley

Groundhogs running wild at Merion

Highlights from Thursday's round

A guide to the East Course at Merion Golf Club

Four Days in Fort Worth: Putting on a PGA Tour event

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