USGA announces plans to address pace of play concerns

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On the heels of Tiger Woods voicing displeasure with the pace of play during Monday's conclusion of the Farmers Insurance Open, the U.S. Golf Association announced plans to 'develop a broad set of initiatives to identify challenges and solutions regarding pace of play issues in the game of golf.'

As part of a release Saturday, the USGA outlined a plan to identify and analyze key factors that contribute to slow pace of play - including green-to-tee walks, course setup features like green speed and hole locations, and proper distribution of starting tee times. The announcement also included plans to develop a pace-of-play model based on quantifiable data, improve the USGA's pace rating system, and offer on-site assistance at the course level to help assess and improve pace of play.

'The cry that pace of play has become one of the most significant threats to the game's health has become only louder over the last year,' said USGA president Glen Nager as part of the release. 'Industry research clearly shows that slow play and the amount of time it takes to play a round of golf detract from the overall experience and threaten to drive players away from the game.'

Despite only having 11 holes left to start their day, tournament leaders took nearly four hours to complete their rounds Monday at Torrey Pines. After concluding his four-shot victory, Woods was critical of the pace of play.

'It was so slow out there,' he said after the round. 'We played nine holes in just over three hours and three of them were par-3s. That's not fast.'

As part of the announcement, Nager also pledged to 'double down' on existing player education initiatives, hoping to better promote campaigns like 'Tee It Forward' and alternative formats such as match play and Stableford scoring, which take less time than traditional stroke play.