Laxity on professionals’ slow play is scandalous

IF ACTION is being taken to try to stamp out slow play at professional level, then how on earth is it possible that it appears it is becoming a bigger problem than ever?

Andrew Loupe at the Valero Texas Open. Picture: Getty
Andrew Loupe at the Valero Texas Open. Picture: Getty

In recent weeks, we have had Kevin Na and now Andrew Loupe in the slow-play spotlight on the PGA Tour and it is scandalous that neither has been hammered by officials.

We have all known about Na for a few years now, but Loupe is new on the scene and, boy, was it painful watching him during the final round of the Valero Texas Open.

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He has to be the world record holder when it comes to practice swings, though his action in making those looked more like he was preparing to chop down trees than hitting a little white ball.

During a discussion last week about a whole host of golfing matters – though one, obviously, grabbed all the attention – I sensed that Peter Dawson, the R&A secretary, felt golf’s main problem with slow play was at grass-roots level.

On the one hand, I can see where he is coming from and there is an onus on golf clubs to ensure that members and visitors adhere to times that really need to be monitored more. What chance does the game have, though, if players like Na and Troupe make it as exciting as watching paint dry and, in the process, those club golfers think slow play is acceptable due to those individuals not being properly punished (and I excuse the R&A from this as it has implemented a stricter policy in recent years)?