If there has been any constant on the PGA TOUR, it’s the continuous argument over pace of play during tournaments. There seems to be an example of this problem every week and now things are getting testy between officials and the players.
The pace of play problem has become such a large issue this year because the PGA TOUR is looking for ways to broaden its appeal to potential fans and how long each round takes is one of the major issues they believe they can do this. That involves cracking down on some players and we almost saw that this week at the Honda Classic.
Cameras caught Charl Schwartzel getting in a heated exchange with an official on the 18th hole after his group was put on the clock to finish out their round. Schwartzel is typically calm, cool, and collected and isn’t often mentioned as a player that contributes to the slow pace problem but he seemed to take major offense to being put on the clock, pointing at the official and pointing at others as the exchange ensued.
As NBC’s Dan Hicks said after the event happened, “”We’re showing you Charl Schwartzel having a heated discussion with PGA Tour official Andrew Miller,” Hicks said. “And normally, Schwartzel is a, you mild-mannered, quiet kind of guy, but he was heated up. This was after he completed his 18th hole and was done.” So Schwartzel wasn’t even that heated while he was playing but after he finished up the round.
One possibility for why Schwartzel was so mad was because he wasn’t the issue but still faced potential consequences. Ben Crane may have been the issue, as he is notoriously slow with his pace, even so much to the point that Rory Sabbatini played ahead of him as his partner in 2005. Regardless and despite all of the yelling, no players were penalized for their pace.
The biggest problem with this issue is that no player thinks they play too slow. If there is going to be any change to the pace of play, the PGA TOUR is going to have to start cracking down and giving out punishments for slow play, something they haven’t done in two decades. And if that happens, you can expect more and more situations like this.
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