Monday, May 28, 2012

Pick Up the Pace!



Wait, no…


OK…here we…



Kevin Na at The Players Championship
Sorry about that, took a minute, but I’m ready to go now! I just had to go through my pre-writing routine quick.  It’s kind of annoying, I know, I get the same feeling whenever I watch professional golf (or at least attempt to watch).

If you’ve ever watched a golfer just before he (or she) takes a swing, you’ve probably noticed the obsessive compulsive-esque pre-shot routines they each respectively go through. As if the pace of golf wasn’t slow enough, pre-shot routines are dragging out play even more. In a sport that is already calm-mannered, and tedious, further slowing the pace in any way risks dulling the entertainment that golf provides viewers. Bottom line, it hurts the sport.

Pre-shot routines typically go something like this…waggle, waggle, step up, half-swing, step back, re-grip, waggle, practice swing, step up, waggle, half-swing…If you’re anything like me, you find yourself sitting there saying, “Come on already, just hit it!”

Throughout the existence of the PGA and LPGA, slow play and pre-shot routines have been perpetual issues. Earlier this month, the age-old discussion was ignited once again, when PGA golfer Kevin Na and LPGA golfer Morgan Pressel caused a stir on mainstages of their respective associations.

At The Players Championship, PGA golfer Kevin Na was scrutinized for his painfully slow play, which included a lengthy pre-shot routine and intentionally whiffing shots just to re-set (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, just watch this video). Fortunately for Na, he wasn’t penalized, but the criticism poured in from the likes of fans, media, and fellow golfers. Na later recognized his struggles saying, per USA Today, “There’s no point in trying to cover anything up. You could see I was having problems.” He also explained that following his sluggish performance at The Players, he has taken time to adjust his routine. By his own count, he has cut the routine down to only 15 seconds (uhm, yay?).

As for LPGA golfer Morgan Pressel, her slow play at the Sybase Match Play Championship resulted in a far worse outcome. Pressel was cited for slow play by rules officials, which caused her to lose a hole that she thought she had won. The penalty ultimately cost her a first place finish as well. It was a tough loss and Pressel made it pretty clear that she disagreed. Referencing Azahara Munoz’s first place finish, “…she was definitely slower than I was,” declared Pressel. (side note: the last slow play penalty assessed in the PGA was about two decades ago)

Let’s admit it, Pressel has a good point. The vast majority of golfers play slow and almost no one is cited or penalized for slow play. While there are rules in place, the application of such rules seems to be fairly arbitrary. Professional golf has a very obvious problem that has persisted for far too long. Something has to be done before the sport suffers even more than it has already. If the fact that Na, a golfer who was not penalized, felt enough of a problem to make an adjustment to quicken his play on his own, and the fact that Pressel was penalized when plenty of others played as slow as, or slower, than herself isn’t enough to make you think the sport has a problem…how about these remarks from the most prolific golfer the sport has ever seen…

“I certainly think we need to speed up play…I certainly can see there being some type of adaption somewhere. There’s got to be some kind of change.” –Tiger Woods


  1. Agreed golf is slow. THey aslo need to hurry along Baseball to!!

  2. haha I wudn't be mad if they did. There's probably a lot of others that feel the same.