Advice for PGA Tour players: Play slower, it helps

By Doug FergusonOctober 16, 2012, 10:15 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Five tournaments into his rookie season, Brian Harman realized his game wasn't suited for the PGA Tour.

He played too fast.

At a time when tournament golf is getting unwanted attention for taking too long, Harman is among several young players setting a good pace, not to mention a good example. But after more than a month of standing around, he needed help. So he called Lucas Glover, a mentor with a quick trigger.

''I talked to him about playing slower,'' Harman said. ''I said, 'Look, man, it's driving me nuts out here.'''

Glover gave him a few tips from his own experience. Be the last player to leave the tee box. Walk slower to the ball. Get water when you're not thirsty. Use the bathroom even if you don't have to go. Take a little more time studying the yardage book.

A week later, Glover was driving from Sea Island to south Florida for the Seminole Pro-Member when he asked his girlfriend to check the scores from the second round of the Honda Classic. She mentioned that some guy named Brian Harman had shot a 61.

''The kid listens well,'' Glover said.

Harman is not alone, which is encouraging. The shame of it is that you never hear of slow guys who are consciously trying to pick up the pace. It's always the other way around.

Dustin Johnson is another player who pulls the club, sees the shot and hits the shot. He was the second to tee off on the par-5 12th hole at Doral a few years ago. It took him 14 seconds to take the driver from the bag, place the ball on the tee, find his target, take a practice swing and step over the ball. Four seconds later, the ball was airborne.

Johnson might have been fast to a fault. Think back to the second hole at Pebble Beach in the final round of the 2010 U.S. Open. Before Johnny Miller could complete a sentence, Johnson took three chips – one from the left side – on his way to a triple bogey that cost him his three-shot lead. Then, he quickly pulled his driver and hit into the bushes for a lost ball and a double bogey, and his Open was over.

That wasn't what led to the change, though. Just like Harman – and Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker and others – Johnson figured if no one else was going to speed up, it would only help him to slow down. That or lose a piece of his sanity.

''Guys out here play really slow, and they're not going to speed up,'' Johnson said. ''I can be miserable, play fast all day and wait, or I can slow down a bit, which can't hurt.''

Johnson is still quick and much quicker than most. He takes a little more time when he gets to the ball, waits a few seconds to pull the club from the bag. And he's taking more time on the green, looking at putts from multiple sides of the hole.

But that's what golf has come to in this generation. Instead of the faster players bringing everyone else up to speed, they have to downshift.

''It can be painful if you play quick,'' Fowler said. ''You're going to be spending a lot of time standing there. It almost starts hurting your legs and feet when you're just standing there. I learned quickly that you have to be patient.''

Criticizing slow play is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. For all the anecdotal evidence, the fix is not as simple as it might seem. When greens are firm and fast, there are going to be more putts that run 4 feet by the hole. Those aren't considered tap-ins. Rules officials have lobbied for years to reduce the size of the fields because too many players can turn a golf course into the 405 in Los Angeles during rush hour, which is just about any hour.

Meantime, players have a choice – stand around or slow down.

McIlroy gave golf a jolt of energy with his exciting game, and adding to his appeal was how quickly he went about his business. He can be an inspiration to young golfers not only with the way he plays and his good manners but his pace. Now, however, even Boy Wonder has joined the ranks of fast players who have learned to slow down.

He traces that to the final round of the 2011 Masters, although he places the blame on his epic meltdown to his swing and his putting, not how long he had to wait. McIlroy was in the last group with Angel Cabrera, as fast as any golfer on the planet. Ahead of them were K.J. Choi and Charl Schwartzel, with Jason Day in the next group.

''I played with Cabrera, who's really quick,'' McIlroy said. ''After that, I realized I'm just going to slow it down a little bit, and it's helped. I hate slow play. I don't want to get frustrated by me playing quick and having to wait all the time. I just sort of try to take my time a little more.''

Brandt Snedeker says he has slowed down, which is hard to believe. Snedeker walks fast and talks fast, and even his practice strokes on the putting green are done in rapid-fire succession. He learned that from his father, Larry, who instilled in his sons at a young age not to make anyone behind them wait. That's the only way Snedeker knows.

But even he concedes to marching to a slightly slower beat.

''Otherwise, I'd end up waiting all day,'' Snedeker said. ''We're conditioned to slow play. Unfortunately, it's become that way. I wish we could play every round under four hours. But you've got to get used to that.''

That's what Pat Perez has done. He doesn't slow down. He doesn't like the pace of play. He has just learned to accept it.

Perez was paired with one of the more notorious snails in the final group one year, when someone asked him if the pace would hurt his chances. Perez has never blamed his failures on anyone but himself, and he wasn't about to start.

''I wait on every single shot, every single day on the PGA Tour,'' he said. ''I've gotten really used to doing that.''

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.