Using the line “While we’re young” from the character played by Rodney Dangerfield, the light-hearted series of public service announcements was launched by the USGA yesterday ahead of the start of the US Open at Merion today.
“Pace of play is a big issue,” said Woods, who is seen in the advert being told to hurry up by a group of children before missing a putt on a crazy golf course. “Rounds of golf take too long and no-one enjoys it.
“’While we’re young’ is part of the golfing vocabulary and Caddyshack is iconic in our sport. This campaign is light-hearted but it also shows that we need to pick up the pace of play.”
Woods won the Farmers Insurance Open by four shots at Torrey Pines outside San Diego after completing a fog-delayed final round that was played at a painfully slow pace.
At one point eight strokes in front of the chasing pack on a breezy day, Woods dropped four shots over his last five holes as he and his playing partners had to wait on virtually every tee before they could proceed.
“We played nine holes in just over three hours, and three of them are par threes,” Woods said after his victory. “I started losing my patience a little bit, and that’s when I made a few mistakes.”
Chinese teenager Guan Tianlang was controversially given a one-shot penalty for slow play at this year’s Masters, but USGA president Glen Nager believes the players do not bear sole responsibility for slow play in the professional game.
“At the professional level there are actually pace of play policies in effect,” Nager said. “And if the players in a professional event are playing within their pace of play rules, they’re fulfilling their responsibility in the event that they’re playing in.
“Yes, the players have a responsibility, but these players are playing by a set of rules.
“And we shouldn’t blame them for playing consistently within those rules when we’re the ones who set the rules and we’re the ones who set the golf courses up and the ones who design the golf courses and the ones who control spectators.”
To that effect, the USGA have amended their policy for this week so that all members of a group must have a ball in play before the group ahead is off the green or they will be considered out of position.
Previously, only one player needed to have a ball in play for the group not be out of position, which triggers the timing process which can eventually lead to a penalty being assessed.