ORLANDO, Fla. – With pace of play in the spotlight following last week’s Valspar Championship, critics are once again looking for ways to curb a trend that shows no signs of reversing.
Add Graeme McDowell to the list of players who believe it to be a significant issue on the PGA Tour.
“I think the club golfer spends too much time watching us on TV and thinks that you’ve got to look at the putt from 360 degrees and have eight practice strokes and take your time over every shot you hit,” McDowell said Wednesday. “We have very methodical pre-shot routines. We pay sports psychologists thousands to teach us these methodical pre-shot routines.”
Admittedly not one of the fastest players on Tour, McDowell said he has tried to pick up his pace. But he knows that falling out of position on the course is a matter of when, not if.
“Going on the clock is inevitable,” he said. “I work … to make sure that my routine fits into that window as much as possible, so that when I’m on the clock I’m comfortable and it’s not going to affect my game. Because it is inevitable.”
After the Robert Garrigus-Kevin Na pairing was put on the clock last week at Innisbrook, McDowell cautioned Wednesday that the core issue can be misconstrued.
“Sometimes, slow play can be confused with bad play,” he noted.
He conceded, however, that many suggested solutions can appear better in theory than they prove to be in practice.
“We are trying to fix this problem, this kind of illness that the game has. It’s hard to do,” he said. “Every now and again a guy is going to get singled out unfairly. But unfortunately, we have to look at the problem holistically as opposed to looking at each individual player.
“Of course we know who the slow players are, we know who the fast players are. It’s a tough problem to execute and penalize – it’s tough to single out guys.”