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Tiger Woods favors fines for slow play on the PGA Tour

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Tiger Woods believes his colleagues will speed around the course if officials threaten to debit their bank accounts.

Gregory Shamus

Tiger Woods has a simple solution for accelerating the clip of games on the PGA Tour.

"Play faster," Woods quipped during a Tuesday conference call promoting his annual limited-field December tourney in California.

Woods, who has had issues with his own and others’ pace of play over the years, believes getting the creepy crawlers at your local muni to move along is not an easy task but he offered a serious suggestion for expediting rounds in the professional ranks: dock players’ pay.

"It's one of those things where I don't know, at our level, the tour level, it's easy to fix," Woods said. "Just start fining guys."

Good luck with that, Tiger. As it is, tour officials are loathe even to penalize players for pokey play, let alone reach into their wallets. While Guan Tianlang had his wrist slapped at the Masters in April, Glen Day in 1995 was the last golfer to incur a slow-play sanction in a regular-season tour event.

The suggestion from the world No. 1 was different from one he shared back in May 2012, when he called for officials to assess a stroke to a player who makes his way around the course with less than all due haste.

"Very simple," Woods told reporters after finishing in a tie for 40th in the 2012 Players Championship. "If you get a warning, you get a penalty."

Woods, who complained that the snail-like pace at Torrey Pines in January affected his play down the stretch of the final round of his 75th tour win, has had his share of run-ins with the stopwatch. He famously criticized veteran official John Paramor for putting him and playing partner Padraig Harrington on the clock at the 2009 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He was similarly unhappy when officials began timing his group in the opening round of this year’s PGA Championship.

The slow-play problem, a perennial one in golf, gained currency with the USGA’s recent "While We’re Young" campaign, launched during the U.S. Open in June with the help of several players, including Woods.

During Woods’ Tuesday teleconference, a reporter raised the issue anew by citing a conclave, scheduled for next month, at which industry leaders from the USGA and PGA and LPGA Tours will discuss (seriously, this is what they’re calling it) "Golf’s Pursuit of a New Paradigm for Pace of Play," according to a USGA release.

Woods noted that tour play has stalled over the years but that going out in pairs rather than trios shortened rounds significantly.

"We found out this year at Akron [site of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational] we played in twosomes the first two days, we basically flew around there. I think the slowest time was right around four hours," Woods said. "We had that weather and had to go early in threesomes off two tees on Saturday. We were up around the 5:20 mark."

Tiger, by the way, can zoom around 18 holes in under an hour, though it may take some three and a half hours to play 36 if he’s playing a pick-up game with his buddies on his home track. And he’s not exactly carrying his own bag when he plays speed golf.

“It helps having a fast cart,” he said.

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