PGA Tour plans to review pace-of-play policy after Bryson DeChambeau row




 

Taken aback by furious criticism of a video of Bryson DeChambeau's painstaking approach to an eight-foot putt, the PGA Tour made a rare concession to public opinion on Monday by promising to review its policy on pace of play.

For years the tour has remained wary of sanctioning the slowest players for fear of embarrassing them, but the backlash to the American's antics at the Northern Trust - which prompted Eddie Pepperell to call him a "single-minded twit" - has finally forced a reaction.

DeChambeau was so pilloried for taking 3½ times the allotted 40-second limit to hit a short putt, which he missed, that Ian Poulter implied he was among a group of players who "continually disrespect their fellow pros and continue to break the rules without a conscience".

The day after the tournament in New Jersey, the PGA Tour said in a statement: "The tour's current pace-of-play policy only addresses players whose groups have fallen out of position. We are now exploring whether to expand the policy to address those whose groups are in position, but who take an excessive amount of time to hit a shot."

Jay Monahan, the tour's commissioner, has previously claimed not to consider slow play a problem. But there is little that the organisation detests more than a public slanging match between its members. This has been a summer of controversy over one of golf's most tortured issues, with Brooks Koepka making clear his displeasure over JB Holmes' time-wasting during the final round of the Open at Royal Portrush last month.

Koepka was also at the centre of the row with DeChambeau, approaching his fellow Ryder Cup player on the driving range at Liberty National in an attempt to clear the air.

Examples of slow play are legion on the tour, but it was only when DeChambeau's absurdly prolonged set-up routine went viral on social media that the tour decided a tipping point had been reached. Tyler Dennis, the tour's chief of operations, explained that the ShotLink application would be used to monitor every group, so that rules officials could respond more rapidly.

"We know that the individual habits of players when they are preparing to hit a shot can quickly become a focal point in today's world," he said. "Our players and fans are very passionate about this issue. We are asking ourselves, 'Is there a better way to do it?' Technology plays a key role."

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