Shane Lowry: The only way to stop slow play is to impose shot penalties

The Open Champion and Paddy Power Ambassador wants to speed things up a bit.

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There’s been a lot of recent controversy over ‘slow play’ in the game and I saw that Bryson DeChambeau came in for a bit of criticism last weekend in New York.

Bryson got a good bit of stick over that clip on Twitter that showed him taking two and a half minutes to play the ball. I can see why it became a problem. He can be deliberately slow at times because that’s how he plays the game, but he walks faster than everyone else to make up time. It’s just when he gets to the ball, he takes longer.

But Bryson’s not the only slow player on tour, there are many more. To be honest, I’m not sure you can speed up the game in the way most people think you can.

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The issue of slow play is nothing to do with how long the round takes. The difference between 18 holes taking four hours and 55 minutes and taking five hours and five minutes is nothing. It doesn’t make any difference. When professionals are on a short, easy course, it takes you half an hour less to play it.

But when you’re on a long, tough, track it takes half an hour longer. That’s just the way it is. They’re making golf courses harder for us. They’re longer, the pin positions are tougher, the greens are faster.

Ultimately, pro golf is taking longer because everything is harder for us.

Even if we all try to play as quick as we can, it will take about 10 minutes less, give or take. That’s not going to make much of a difference.


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Where I find the real problem lies, is when someone starts getting in your way.

Slow players are just not thinking about the others in their group or anyone else around them. That’s the real issue.

Listen, we’re all out here trying to make a living. It’s our career, so of course there are times when players have to be more deliberate. Particularly if they’re in a high-pressure situation and really need to get things right.

It’s understandable that you have to take your time a little more then. People get that.

Players who reach the Tour Championship in Atlanta next week could be in with a chance of winning the FedEx Cup series, worth about $15 million. No-one will care about a $5,000 fine in that instance for slow play. It doesn’t bother them. Fines won’t work.

The only real way to clamp down on slow play is to hand out shot penalties.

You’re not going to speed up golf so that it becomes a much quicker game to play. However, you can get to a place where certain players need to be wary that if they’re getting in the way – they’ll pay the penalty.

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What do you think?