PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The longer in the tooth Tiger Woods gets, the longer it takes to play a round of golf.
Asked Sunday to assess the pace of play on the PGA Tour compared to four years ago, Woods simply said, 'Worse.'
'Last week, we were playing 4:40 (on Thursday and Friday at Quail Hollow) and there's no wind. That's hard to believe.'
It was worse than Woods thought. He took 4 hours, 52 minutes to play on Friday before missing the cut at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Slow play has become a higher-profile issue as Woods and his peers make their dissatisfaction with the pace more public. It has been on display this week at TPC Sawgrass as 54-hole leader Kevin Na has struggled to – as he says – 'pull the trigger.'
The PGA Tour threatens players with penalty strokes for falling out of position relative to the field and continuing to play slowly. A player must falter twice while on the clock, however, to be penalized. Woods believes in skipping an initial warning before a penalty stroke is assessed.
'I think it's very simple,' he said. 'If you get a warning, you get a penalty. I think that would speed it up.'
With the difference between first and second place this week costing $684,000, Woods rejects the Tour's existing system of fining players between $5,000 and $20,000 for consistent pace of play violations.
'Strokes is money,' he said. 'I would take the five grand (fine) over the 800K. That's one shot. That's the difference. That's what people don't realize – that one shot is so valuable out here.'
There is a lot of talk about the youth movement on the PGA Tour, including three 20-somethings in contention to win this week. Woods believes many of his younger peers don't move fast enough.
'College has gotten just incredibly slow,' he said. 'It's so bad that now they are giving the guys the ability to use lasers to try to speed up play. And they're still playing in 5:45, six hours plus.'