[QODLink]
Golf

U.S. Golf Association speeds up on slow play

With the support of Tiger Woods, the American golfing association is looking to quicken up the game of golf.

Last Modified: 12 Jun 2013 17:09
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Tiger Woods (R) and his playing partner Rory McIlroy tee off for U.S. Open action on June 13 at 17:14 GMT [Reuters]

Backed by world number one Tiger Woods, the United States Golf Association (USGA) unveiled on Wednesday a nationwide public education campaign to address the game's growing problem of slow play.

The 'While We're Young' campaign is part of a programme launched earlier this year by the USGA in partnership with golf industry leaders, allied organisations, media partners and golf course managers in a bid to resolve the pace-of-play issue.

In line with this campaign, the USGA said it would enforce stricter policies on slow play at this week's U.S. Open, the second of the year's four majors.

"Pace of play has been an issue for decades, but it's now become one of the most significant threats to the health of the game," USGA president Glen D. Nager told reporters on the eve of the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club.

"Five hour plus rounds are common and they're incompatible with modern life. Beyond the time involved, poor pace of play saps the fun from the game, takes too much time, frustrates players, and discourages future play.

"In a recent study by the National Golf Foundation, 91 percent of serious golfers reported that they're bothered by slow play and say that it detracts from their golf experience."

According to Nager, more than 70 percent of golfers felt that pace of play had become a bigger problem in recent years and more than 50 percent admitted to walking off the golf course due to frustration over the length of rounds.

"As these numbers demonstrate, the golf community needs to act to address pace of play issues, they need to act now and they need to act more than ever," Nager said. 

Borrowing the iconic 'While We're Young' line from the character played by American actor Rodney Dangerfield in the 1980 film 'Caddyshack', the campaign takes a lighthearted approach to encourage golfers to improve pace of play.

Frustrated Woods 

Three-time U.S. Open champion Woods, who was vocal in his frustration over slow play after he won the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open in January, has fully endorsed the campaign.

"Pace of play is a big issue. Rounds of golf take too long and no one enjoys it," the 14-times major winner said in a statement. 

We played nine holes in just over three hours, and three of them are par threes... I started losing my patience a little bit, and that's when I made a few mistakes

Tiger Woods, World number one

Woods won the Farmers Insurance Open by four shots at Torrey Pines outside San Diego after completing a fog-delayed final round that was played at a painfully slow pace.

At one point eight strokes in front of the chasing pack on a breezy day, Woods dropped four shots over his last five holes as he and his playing partners had to wait on virtually every tee before they could proceed.

"We played nine holes in just over three hours, and three of them are par threes," Woods said after his victory.

"I started losing my patience a little bit, and that's when I made a few mistakes."

Nager said the pace-of-play policy had been changed for this week's U.S. Open with every golfer in a group required to have a ball in play off the tee on a par-four or par-five hole before the group ahead had left the green.

In previous years, only one player in a group had to put a ball in play.

"This year every player in the group has to have a ball in play before that group in front of them is off the green or they will be considered out of position," Nager said.

"Then we'll start going through the process where we'll have a rover timing them and either getting them back in position or they will be subject to a warning and then penalty." 

The 113th U.S. Open starts on Thursday.

646

Source:
Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
In Brussels, NGO staff are being trained to fill the shortfall of field workers in West Africa.
Lawsuit by 6-year-old girl, locked up for a year, reignites debate over indefinite detention of 'boat people'.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Citizens of the tiny African nation say they're increasingly anxious of the fallout after alleged coup.
A humanitarian crisis and a budget crisis converge in the heart of the human smuggling corridor in Texas.
join our mailing list