After Bryson DeChambeau caused an uproar with his 2:20 minute 8-foot putt and received a ton of criticism, the PGA Tour has finally realized it may be time to review their pace-of-play rules.
“We know that the individual habits of players when they are preparing to hit a shot can quickly become a focal point in today’s world, and our players and fans are very passionate about this issue,” said Tyler Dennis, the PGA TOUR’s Chief of Operations. “We have leveraged our ShotLink technology to provide every player with a pace of play report that they can access which breaks down the varying parts of their game and gives feedback on the amount of time on average that the player takes to hit a particular shot.
“We are currently in the process of reviewing this aspect of pace of play and asking ourselves, ‘Is there a better way to do it?’ We think technology definitely plays a key role in all of this and we are thinking about new and innovative ways to use it to address these situations.
“We have learned over the years that pace has a lot of factors that play into it, and it’s actually quite complicated,” he added. “The overall time to play a round is affected by things like the number of players on the course, tee time intervals, amount of daylight, course set-up and the weather. Some of these are things we can influence, and some are not.”
While it’s not an immediate fix, I’d say that it is a step in the right direction.
“We are seeing great improvements to the flow and in particular to the speed with which we can recover following an issue with a group that results in a momentary slow-down in pace,” Dennis said.
Under the TOUR’s current pace-of-play policy, players are “on the clock” when their group falls out of position. Players are given an allotted time between 40 and 50 seconds (depending on factors such as order of play) to hit a shot. The first bad time results in a warning, while a second bad time in the same round is a one-stroke penalty. Players are fined for a second bad time in a season, and each bad time thereafter, and for each time they are put “on the clock” after the 10th time.
“We are really focused at the moment on leveraging our ShotLink technology to assist us with these factors,” Dennis said. “This year, we have rolled out version 2.0 of an application which allows the officials to monitor every group in real-time, from their positions out on the course, and respond more quickly when a group is getting behind.”
Also, during the final round of THE NORTHERN TRUST, the final pairing of Patrick Reed and Abraham Ancer was put on the clock, proving that the PGA Tour may have listened to the complaints.
There is no guarantee that any changes will be made, but at least this has all taken place at the end of the season so that things could possibly be implemented heading into next season.
Michael is the founder and Editor in Chief of The Stiff Shaft. He is also the Senior Editor of Golfweek Custom Media and covers the World Long Drive for Golf Channel.
He has 8+ years of covering golf, is an LSU fan, and prefers to hit driver-wedge as often as possible.