Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood were put on the clock early into their back nine on Saturday, just a little while after officials assessed Hideki Matsuyama a one-shot penalty for his snail-like pace.
“It’s a lot easier to give Hideki Matsuyama a one-shot penalty than it is to give Tiger Woods or Lee Westwood a one-shot penalty in this situation,” ESPN analyst Paul Azinger opined after the two co-leaders received a warning from tour officials to pick up the pace.
Matsuyama already had a warning and then took two minutes 12 seconds on 17 and got 1 shot penalty. #TheOpen— Alistair Tait (@GolfweekTait) July 20, 2013
Curtis Strange defended the alacrity -- or lack thereof -- with which Woods and Westwood were playing.
“It is so tough to play at a pace when these greens are so demanding and so tricky and it just takes a while,” Azinger’s colleague observed. “I’m not defending slow play at all but when your ball bounces all over the world and it's tough to get it up and in and catch up, that’s what slows the game down.”
Matsuyama received his penalty on the 17th hole at Muirfield, which gave him a bogey-6 on the hole. Another bogey on the par-4 18th gave Matsuyama a 1-over 72 for his third round and put him at 3-over for the week -- five shots back of Woods and Westwood.
Woods and Westwood were taken off the clock on the 14th hole, just as the Englishman made a birdie putt to take sole possession of the lead at 3-under.