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Apr 12th, 2023

Slow play rears its ugly head at The Masters

Cantlay among the offenders at Augusta but why was nothing done?

Ten years ago, Guan Tianlang of China became the youngest player to compete in the Masters at just 14 years old. Sadly, the fairy tale was spoiled when the young man was singled out for a slow play penalty that jeopardised his chances of making the cut. The incident divided opinion but the positive takeaway was that something was finally being done about slow play.
Roll forward ten years to the 2023 Masters and slow play remains a significant issue in golf. It took Patrick Cantlay and Viktor Hovland almost five hours in the final round to complete a two-ball. Watching on helplessly was the final pairing of Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka. The American who lost out to Rahm was vocal about the pace of play after his round.
“The group in front of us was brutally slow,” said Koepka.
“Jon went to the bathroom like seven times during the round and we were still waiting.”
Cantlay was particularly slow, and in fairness to Hovland, he attempted to hurry things up in their group. The most obvious example being when the Norwegian played his chip from the greenside at the 13th before Cantlay had even crossed Ray’s Creek.

Augusta National has rules about everything but, remarkably, not one for slow play. Cantlay should have been put on the clock, and as we know, there is the precedent for penalising players for slow play set back at the 2003 event.
Sadly, Cantlay saw nothing wrong with his pace of play and defended his actions as “just the nature” of professional golf.
“When you play a golf course like Augusta National where all the hole locations are on lots of slope and the greens are really fast, it’s just going to take longer and longer to hole out,” he said. 
The American’s comments did not sit well with many golf fans who complained en masse about the pace of play on the final day.
Sadly, as many club golfers will affirm, slow play trickles down to the amateur game, particularly with the younger element. Crazy putting and pre-shot routines add tens of minutes to rounds and drive everyone, us included, crazy.
When will those in charge start doing something about slow play, as all actions seem to have evaporated post covid.

TAGS: The Masters, Slow Play, Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland, 2023