MEDINAH, Ill. – The PGA Tour has moved across the country, but the slow play discussions that boiled over at last week’s Northern Trust are still having an impact on the eve of the BMW Championship.
Pace-of-play regulations were on the agenda for the PGA Tour’s player advisory council (PAC) to address at the end of the year, but the controversy stemming from Bryson DeChambeau’s viral video at Liberty National pushed the topic to the forefront. PAC members held a regularly-scheduled meeting Tuesday night at Medinah Country Club, where much of the discussion centered on potential changes to the Tour’s slow-play policy.
“I think everybody on the Tour is on board to get something done. We just don’t know the correct way,” said PAC chairman Kevin Kisner. “The Tour’s got a lot of ideas, and the players do too. I think it’s got to be something done that everyone agrees with, and we’re not to that point yet.”
The Tour released a statement Sunday expanding on plans to take a “deeper look” on the topic, including the prospect of using ShotLink technology to get more accurate time reports on individual players and potentially handing out fines or penalties to players who are slow but whose groups are not necessarily out of position.
Pace of play remains a nuanced and complicated issue, but it’s one that appears to have reached a tipping point last week with the video and subsequent fallout tied to DeChambeau taking more than 2 minutes to hit an 8-foot putt in the second round.
“I think after the events of last week, the Tour and golf getting a bad image based on pace of play, and especially on social media, something needs to be done,” said PAC member Jon Rahm, who attended Tuesday’s meeting. “We’re way closer (to change) than we were last week, obviously. Unfortunately for one player, it was a bad week for him. But it was needed for the game of golf.”
The Tour’s procedure for enacting potential changes remains in place, meaning that any options proposed by the PAC must then be forwarded on to the Tour’s policy board before moving further up the chain. According to Kisner, the group plans to reconvene this fall for further discussion on potential policy options.
It means that an overhaul to the rule book likely won’t happen overnight, but the wheels for change appear to be in motion.
“I think 100 percent something’s going to happen,” Kisner said.