The issue of slow play has become even more prominent following the Players Championship and the circus sideshow that was Kevin Na. Following his round on Sunday, Tiger Woods spoke out against the slow pace of play bogging down PGA Tour events, reports Ryan Ballengee.
Asked Sunday to assess the pace of play on the PGA Tour compared to four years ago, Woods simply said, "Worse."
"Last week, we were playing 4:40 (on Thursday and Friday at Quail Hollow) and there's no wind. That's hard to believe."
It was worse than Woods thought. He took 4 hours, 52 minutes to play on Friday before missing the cut at the Wells Fargo Championship.
According to Tiger, many of the young players on Tour are picking up bad habits while playing college golf that slow down the game which has led to slow play infiltrating the professional ranks more prominently than ever.
"College has gotten just incredibly slow," he said. "It's so bad that now they are giving the guys the ability to use lasers to try to speed up play. And they're still playing in 5:45, six hours plus."
While the PGA Tour threatens players with penalty strokes for falling out of position relative to the field and continuing to play slowly, a player must falter twice while on the clock before they are penalized. For Woods, eliminating that initial warning is a sure-fire way to speed things up out there.
"I think it's very simple," he said. "If you get a warning, you get a penalty. I think that would speed it up."
With the difference between first and second place this week costing $684,000, Woods rejects the Tour's existing system of fining players between $5,000 and $20,000 for consistent pace of play violations.
"Strokes is money," he said. "I would take the five grand (fine) over the 800K. That's one shot. That's the difference. That's what people don't realize – that one shot is so valuable out here."
Charles Barkley sympathetic to Na
While Tiger Woods may not be overly sympathetic to Kevin Na's "demons," Charles Barkley is, according to Mike McAllister.
Charles Barkley, possessor of arguably the most agonizing-looking swing by any golf-playing athlete, sent a text to Roger Maltbie late Saturday night: "Kevin Na is my hero. Welcome to my world."
Johnny Miller was also sympathetic, stating, "I feel bad for him. I mean really, it is embarrassing to him."
Brandel Chamblee, on the other hand, was a little less PC:
"We hear guys talking about needing swing coaches, sports psychologists, fitness instructors or changing managers. He needs an exorcist. I half expect winged bulls to fly out of his head when he is standing over a shot. I'm not sure if Sigmund Freud were alive he could figure this one out."
What's your take on Kevin Na and the state of his mental game? Should he be pitied or punished? Leave your comments below.
Harris English's errant tee drive
By now you've probably seen the video of a man getting nailed on the head by Harris English's drive at the Players Championship. That man was Denny Meredith, a volunteer at the Players for the past 11 years. And though he is ok now, it was a scary scene on No. 1 following the incident, reports Jessica Clarke and Erich Spivey of First Coast News.
According to Meredith, he watched the tee shot through his binoculars head left towards the crowd, but must have become distracted as the ball came closer. As the ball ricocheted off his head, Meredith recalled hearing a "loud thump." What followed was a lot of blood as nurses in the crowd rushed to his aid.
"This is as serious as I've seen," said longtime golf writer Garry Smits of the Florida Times-Union, a newsgathering partner of First Coast News. "You just don't see that amount of blood for a golf ball hit and this case, it was pretty bad."
Smits snapped this photo moments after the accident:
Meredith was taken to the hospital and received six stitches, but was allowed to return home that night and is now doing okay.
"Well, after getting hit I feel fine and I think it was more of a glancing blow and not quite a direct hit," Meredith said. "So, a lot of blood but not a lot of pain."
Both English and playing partner (and eventual champion) Matt Kuchar left Meredith with signed golf gloves following the incident which may not eliminate the pain, but should certainly sweeten it.
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