Chinese teenager Guan Tianlang was not even born the last time a player was penalised for slow play on the American PGA Tour. But the 14-year-old yesterday become the most high-profile victim of pace of play regulations after being penalised during his second round at Augusta.
It had been 17 years since a player was given a stroke penalty for slow play in a regular PGA Tour event. Glen Day was the player and he was given the nickname ‘All Day’.
At the US PGA Championship in 2010, however, France’s Gregory Bourdy was penalised and the European Tour also gave a shot penalty to local player Filip Mzurek at the 2011 Czech Open.
Slow play hit the headlines in 2012 when Ryder Cup player Ross Fisher was given a one-shot penalty during the final round of the Wales Open, when he was one stroke off the lead with four holes to play.
Fisher, who subsequently finished two shots behind winner Thongchai Jaidee, was playing alongside Jaidee and Joost Luiten but was singled out for punishment because of taking too long to play shots at the 11th and 14th holes, long after the group had been told to speed up.
The LPGA Tour had its own controversy in 2012 when Solheim Cup player Morgan Pressel lost a hole in a matchplay semi-final because of slow play and subsequently went out of the event.
England’s Andrew Willey was the last player penalised for slow play in the Open, picking up a one-shot penalty at Troon in 2004.
At Royal Lytham last year, tournament officials said slow play rules would be applied “stringently”, even if it was at a decisive stage of the tournament.
Jim McArthur, chairman of the R&A’s championship committee, said: “We have emphasised to the players that we are applying the policy stringently and we have instructed the walking rules officials to take whatever action they feel is appropriate to ensure that these time schedules are met.”