Francesco Molinari moans after being hit with ‘bad time’

Francesco Molinari plays his tee shot on the second hole in the first round of the WGC-Mexico Championship. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Francesco Molinari plays his tee shot on the second hole in the first round of the WGC-Mexico Championship. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
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Francesco Molinari echoed
Paul Lawrie by claiming that golfers need to be put on the clock without any warning after the Italian launched a rant over a “bad time” imposed on him in the first round of the WGC-Mexico Championship.

While the two-time Ryder Cup player had no complaints over the decision itself due to the fact he took too long to play a shot when his group was being timed, he took issue with the current system in place for monitoring slow play.

“Today I got the second bad time of my career 13 years after the first one!” wrote Molinari on Twitter after he’d opened with a level-par 71 in Mexico City, where former Open champion Louis Oostuizen led by a shot following his 64.

“Incredible how 62 seconds when you have 50 to hit the shot cost you a bad time and then people taking two minutes over a shot are ok.”

The four-time European Tour winner wasn’t hit with a penalty as a first bad time only constitutes a warning. A second bad time in the same round would incur a shot penalty and two bad times in a 
season results in a monetary fine.

“No reason to appeal the bad time. The rules are clear and I took too long,” added Molinari. “ The problems is: players dramatically changing their routine when the referee is timing them (I clearly didn’t as I don’t feel I need to). Let’s time players with no warning and see what happens.

“I know I took too long. This has happened twice in 14 years. I have been on the clock a lot of times in between these bad times. But I have never seen a slow player take a bad time.”

In recent weeks, JB Holmes, Patrick Cantlay and Kevin Na have all escaped scot free despite blatant examples of slow play and Molinari’s coach, Denis Pugh, is accusing the PGA Tour of picking on foreign players.

“Fair to say it (is) never going to be an American player,” claimed the Englishman before saying of notoriously slow Australian Jason Day: “Watch out, your time will come.” He added: “As you were Na, Cantlay, Holmes, [Webb] Simpson, [Ben] Crane etc etc, you are all American ok.”

Molinari’s moan comes hot on the heels of Lawrie lambasting both Englishman Aaron Rai and Max Kieffer of Germany after being paired with them in Oman and Qatar in recent events. “Getting pretty fed up playing with guys who cheat the system by playing as slow as they want until referee comes then hit it on the run to make sure they don’t get penalised then as soon as ref gone its back to taking forever again. We need a better system,” said the Aberdonian.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods has announced he will play in both the Valspar Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational in the coming weeks, teeing up in the first of those events for the first time.

Woods announced the double date after a “good recovery week” following his 12th-place finish at the Honda Classic - his third PGA Tour event since returning from spinal fusion surgery last April.

On the European Tour, Scott Jamieson is sitting in the top 10 at halfway and has both Connor Syme and Grant Forrest for company in the final two rounds of the Tshwane Open in Pretoria.

Jamieson followed an opening 67 with a 69 for a six-under total, five behind South African George Coetzee (67-64).

In his rookie season, Syme recovered from an opening bogey to card a second-round 68 to sit just outside the top 20 on four-under, two better than Forrest, who made it three cuts out of three in European Tour events this season after coming off the reserve list for the event at Waterkloof on Thursday morning.