“Can you imagine giving a 14-year-old a penalty for slow play,” Jack Nicklaus told a group in New Orleans, being critical of the Masters’ Committee’s decision to give a one-stroke penalty to Tianlang Guan.
However, juniors participating on the American Junior Golf Tour have already seen this happen to them.
While the PGA Tour seems to ignore the topic of slow play with no penalties handed out in 18 years, the AJGA has taken steps to ensure that future professionals learn to keep pace at an early age, announcing a plan to set “overall time pars” for each threesomes to four hours and 19 minutes.
The AJGA already had in place a pace of play policy that helped them reduce the average time from 4:35 in 2008 to 4:23 in 2012. .Players are given a “red card” when their group is both out of position and behind its overall time par for the round. They receive a one-shot penalty in the event of a second red card if unable to get back on pace. With volunteers stationed at six different holes to monitor pace of play, more than 3,000 total red cards were issued in both 2011 and 2012. There are also regulations in place for individual players to receive “undue delay” penalties should they record five or more bad times during a single round.
Hats off to the AJGA for trying to correct an obvious problem!
The group that included Guan, playing with Ben Crenshaw and Matteo Manassero in the second round of the Masters, was deemed out of position on the 10th hole. Guan exceeded the 40-second time limit on the 13th and was given a warning. When he exceeded the time limit again on the 17th, he was penalized.
Guan survived the cut and this slow play warning might be a good lesson for him when he becomes a professional.