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Bitter dispute erupts over Bryson DeChambeau’s slow play at The Northern Trust, resulting in personal insults, apologies and a review of the current pace-of-play policy

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The heated dispute concerning slow play over the weekend at The Northern Trust spilled over into Monday in what has been arguably the fiercest and most bitter debate on the subject that the sport has yet seen.

In case you missed it, on Friday at Liberty National, Bryson DeChambeau was caught on camera taking over three minutes to pace out and play a seemingly straight forward approach shot, and then taking over two minutes to hit a putt from inside 10-feet on the eight green – two incidents which sparked the furore which was to follow.

Embedded below is footage of DeChambeau on the eight green on Friday.

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I recently wrote a blog post (link in bio) about my experience at the #scottishopen and how surprised I was at the length of time some players (one in particular) took to play shots. It’s a funny old debate this. I get that these guys are playing for millions of £/€/$ and it’s their job but sometimes it just seems absolutely ridiculous the length of some pros take to play shots. The problem is, we usually only see the footage when the player is about to putt (on tele) and not so much of the time spent reading the green/chatting with caddies (thankfully), so they’re often taking far longer than we actually think or see. Annoyingly, I regularly see club members taking this length of time over shots (well, maybe not quite as long as @brysondechambeau, but still too long) and it’s most likely because they’re seeing the pros doing it and think it’s okay. Great to see some of his peers calling him out about this, even if he didn’t appreciate it. Can always rely on good old #eddiepepperell to speak his mind. #legend

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Both incidents went viral, with DeChambeau taking well over the 40 second time limit which the PGA Tour is said to allow players for each shot, and adding fuel to the fire, fellow professional Eddie Pepperrel took to social media to describe DeChambeau as a “single-minded twit.” A comment which the Englishman apologized for on Monday.

Pepperell wasn’t the only player to comment publicly on DeChambeau’s deliberate play, with fellow Brit, Tommy Fleetwood stating that “If we were on the clock he wouldn’t have taken that amount of time”, while Justin Thomas simply described DeChambeau as “a slow player”.

Following his round on Friday, and fully aware of the controversy brewing, DeChambeau launched an impassioned defense of the length of time he takes over shots on the course, bringing up the subject before a member of the press even had the chance to ask the 25-year-old a question.

Arguing that he strides quickly to his ball and as he usually outdrives his opponents, he can’t set up his shot until it is his turn, DeChambeau took aim at his critics, stating

“When people start talking to me about slow play and how I’m killing the game, I’m doing this and that to that game… that is complete and utter you-know what. That’s not fair.”

DeChambeau argued that although sometimes he takes over the allotted 40 seconds, those occasions are few and far between, before continuing his self-defence saying

“If it’s not an easy shot, I’m going to take a little bit longer because that’s my job. I’m trying to do my absolute best. I’m trying to provide entertainment, and I hope that people can realise that it takes more than just me playing a shot in 30 seconds or 40 seconds for us to call it slow play.”

When asked whether any player has confronted him to air any grievances they might have, DeChambeau explained that no player had ever approached him to discuss his pace of play, and urged his critics to “say it to my face” if they have a problem.

If you thought that might be the end of the matter, then you were sorely mistaken.

Over the weekend at Liberty National, DeChambeau approached Brooks Koepka’s caddie, and was then seen in deep conversation with the four-time major champion on the range.

Following that conversation, which DeChambeau described as “awesome” and “fantastic”, Koepka was quick to tell members of the press at Liberty National that the 25-year-old isn’t the only culprit and that DeChambeau feels that he is being unfairly singled out.

“It’s not just him. I know he feels singled out, especially when I’m speaking about it. But it’s like I told him, it’s not — I’ve mentioned his name once, and that’s it. There’s so many guys out here where it’s become an issue, and obviously him being probably the best player that’s relatively slow right now, he’s going to be on TV a lot more, so you’re going to catch a lot more of those type of instances. I mentioned his (DeChambeau’s) name once. So I don’t think I’ve come at him. I just talked about slow play, and obviously he feels I’m talking about him every time.”

During the chaos in New Jersey, there was also criticism of the PGA Tour for not taking a harder stance on slow play in the game, with Sky Sports’ Rich Beem being one of those to slam the authorities, saying that he was “outraged” that the Tour tolerate the pace of play displayed by DeChambeau at the weekend.

The controversy at The Northern Trust seems to have awoken the PGA Tour from their slumber on the subject of slow play in the game, with the Tour releasing a lengthy statement on Sunday which mentioned that the organization would be reviewing it’s current pace-of-play policy.

“The TOUR’s current pace-of-play policy only addresses players whose groups have fallen out of position. The TOUR is now exploring whether to expand its policy to also address players whose groups are in position, but who take an excessive amount of time to hit a shot.”

As the bitter dispute began to defuse on Monday following Pepperell’s apology on social media, DeChambeau then took to his own social media account to issue an apology of his own, where he vowed to improve his pace of play in the future, putting an end to this particularly heated chapter on the sport’s current most controversial subject.

“Slow play affects the quality of the game for both players and our fans and I’ve always had the utmost respect for my playing partners, including JT and Tommy. I’m constantly trying to improve and I will do my very best to improve my pace. Golf is my passion and livelihood. It’s my responsibility to help improve the game to be more enjoyable for all. Pace of play has been an issue for golf at all levels for a long time, and I’m committed to being a part of the solution, not the problem. I want to be a good representative of the game and the @PGATour and I looking forward to working with the TOUR and fellow players to find a solution to slow play.”

 

 

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Dave r

    Aug 16, 2019 at 11:11 am

    It’s all about the money. This is their living. I’ll bet if your boss deducted 2hrs pay from your pay cheque for being slow at your job you would find an excuse also. Slow play has always existed and always will .

  2. DEE TEE

    Aug 14, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    The biggest problem is ignorance. Slow players never think “THEY” are slow.

  3. Brandless Shamless

    Aug 14, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    And Matt Koochie is still a donkey!!

    • Wes B

      Aug 14, 2019 at 7:24 pm

      Kuchar? Love Matt! Class act. No clue why anyone wouldn’t like him lol.

  4. Tom54

    Aug 14, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    Are the pros complaining about slow play thu-fri when the field is still full, or also weekends when it normally goes to twosomes? When ever the last group goes off around 2:00, they usually get done by the 6:00 EST timeframe so that is 4 hours. When they can’t get finished by 6:30 or 7:00 then they have a problem. Until then, yeah they have their slow players but I don’t see the real issue here although I may be in the minority.

  5. Logan

    Aug 13, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    not gonna cite barstool? weird paraphrasing.

  6. JP

    Aug 13, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Pace of play or not… he’s still a twit.
    Hahaha

  7. Brandon

    Aug 13, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    Just do what I do when the group in front of me is taking a ridiculous amount of time… Hit into them.

    • JThunder

      Aug 13, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      Great idea! Maybe you can ask Brooks Koepka how he felt about destroying someone’s eye. Then maybe you’ll think again before behaving like an irresponsible a.

      • Rory

        Aug 13, 2019 at 10:14 pm

        Im sure he would have the courtesy to play a bump and run….

    • Richie

      Aug 13, 2019 at 8:19 pm

      Love it

  8. juliette91

    Aug 13, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    I think you have to read the tour’s policy instead of just writing negatively about any one player. If their group is not out of time sync then the individuals in that group are currently not timed. That policy is being reviewed and it’s easy to see why. All of us amateurs can easily become impatient with a particularly slower player even if our group is not out of time sync.

    The problem is that others speed up to keep the group in time sync and that usually negatively affects all the others in the group. So I think that individual players’ times have to be addressed as a real issue.

  9. Ryan

    Aug 13, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    I know my opinion don’t mean much but here are the two things I would change. First off, get rid of the green books altogether. A player gets 3 days prior to the tournament to play practice rounds and figure out the course. If they can’t figure out enough info about the course in that time then that’s on them. Secondly, stop allowing constant remarking of the ball. Once the ball has been marked, then replaced, and the marker is removed, that’s it. This would cut back on the constant remarking so many of them do. Get it right and hit the putt. I’d rather see a player take a few extra seconds to line up the line properly then remove the coin, realize they got it wrong then remark and go through their entire preshot routine all over again. Making sure you got it right the first time might take a few extra seconds, but the constant remarking and then doing over the preshot routine is much longer than that.

    • Redtop

      Aug 14, 2019 at 8:39 am

      I like these two ideas ^^^^^ and would add two more… #1 – the only time you mark a 2nd time for your putt is when you would be standing in someone else’s line. #2 – Maybe it already works this way, but start a 60 second clock when the previous player’s ball comes to rest or if you are the first to hit, when you arrive at your ball. Need more time for a “tough” shot? Take all the time you want, but it’s gonna be a 1 stroke penalty for each 60 seconds. This would let the player do all the quirky stuff they want to do on each shot, but still keep things moving. If they can’t play well this way, then find another career.

      • Tim

        Aug 14, 2019 at 4:38 pm

        lets put a shot clock on each green side hole with a buzzer

        • DJ

          Aug 14, 2019 at 6:51 pm

          Tim – how would a greenside shot clock work with a group on the green and the other in the fairway on a par 5 in which some players layup and some go for the green? Should each group have a rules official carrying a shot clock and a clip board to keep track? That’s a lot of groups on Thur/Fri.

      • DJ

        Aug 14, 2019 at 7:02 pm

        Redtop – situation: on the green – so player A gets 60 seconds to hit shot cause they are the furthest from the hole while player B and C (if threesomes) get 2 or 3 minutes. Is that the benefit of hitting it close – more time.

  10. JThunder

    Aug 13, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    Slow play means more time for the telecast to mention “FedEx Cup”, “Wyndham Rewards”, “Minolta Swing Vision”, and dozens of other multi-million dollar sponsors. The longer they run, the more ads, the more cash for all the bloated millionaires.

    You want to speed them all up to the same pace and clock them? Government regulation!!! Communism!!!

    Maybe, like most weekend golfers, they want to play slow so they can drink more and avoid going home to their families.

  11. JN

    Aug 13, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    There needs to be stroke penalties issued, and if it takes multiple penalties in a single round so be it. The problem is that the rules have not been enforced. Enforce the rules, and do it every time…then the problem is no longer a problem.

  12. Jamie

    Aug 13, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Pair JB and Bryson in a Thursday/Friday group. Let’s see how that goes.

  13. Scooter

    Aug 13, 2019 at 10:44 am

    Bryson actually said “I’m trying to provide entertainment” ? Social media gave him an answer as to how entertaining it was … hopefully he will lose his I’m Right/You’re Wrong attitude and worry more about ways to play quicker. As for the Tour bosses, don’t hold your breath waiting for those guys to make a difference.

  14. Cody

    Aug 13, 2019 at 10:30 am

    we will see…

  15. DJ

    Aug 13, 2019 at 10:27 am

    Options:
    range finders. no green reading books – just pin sheets. golf carts; no caddies – just a kid with each group to rake bunkers (like Open Championship). reduced fields (100 to start tourney); 50 and ties make cut. Split tees all 4 rounds. rules official with every group – dip into the prize money to pay them.

    • Christopher

      Aug 13, 2019 at 10:44 am

      Range Finders won’t improve the pace of play, tour players want to know other distances as well, so it’s not just the case of zapping the pin. They’ll want distances to the front, the back over bunkers et cetera. A yardage book and caddy will generally be faster.

      One thing I would like to see is less people inside the ropes, during The Open the fairways were too crowded, The Masters gets it right, players and caddies.

      As to slow-play, just set a time limit and give shot penalties for exceeding the limit, you could even give players a time-out option if they need it two or three times a round.

      • bill fenson

        Aug 13, 2019 at 6:36 pm

        Skycaddy GPS. Distances to anything and everything when paired with a range finder.
        If any course in the UK will boot you off if you take more than 4 hours, and the best golf resort in the world (Bandon Dunes) expects you to play in 4 hours 20 minutes no matter how packed the course is, walking only, theres 0 reason tour pros, who take 30% less strokes than the average golfer, shouldn’t finish a round in 4 hours. PGA needs to implement ready golf. Why do they push it on amateur golf for weekend hacks but they wont push it on tour pros. Pros should be playing their shots simultaneously as long as they aren’t in the way of each other. Stroke penalties for anything over 60 seconds. Read your putts when the other players are hitting theirs.

        • DJ

          Aug 14, 2019 at 6:47 pm

          I like the gps range finder idea. Wouldn’t calculate slope or wind, so everyone has same advantage.

      • DJ

        Aug 14, 2019 at 6:43 pm

        Ranger finders work when the golfer hits off line and has the caddy walk off the yardage. You need the fans at the event. That helps with sponsorship and $. Major tourneys don’t need as many fans, true. So how do the players know about the shot clock? Is someone carrying that around? Is it used at all times? How does it adjust for searching for lost balls? What about having to go back and replay a shot to lost ball? You can’t give penalties after the round cause that would cause too many issues.

  16. dat

    Aug 13, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Bryson might just be the latest poster boy for this issue. I hope he’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back and the TOUR takes on this issue once and for all. Impose penalties, come up with TV friendly solutions, etc. Just do something that actually is actionable, rather than words on a piece of paper.

  17. leezer

    Aug 13, 2019 at 9:42 am

    JB Holmes is first out with Bryson following in the sixth group, all going off the first tee. We could potentially break a 7 hour round by the last group.

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19th Hole

The DailyWRX (1/21/2021): A new addition for the Louvre

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TrackMans aplenty….

 

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Just what AT’s clubs should look like…

 

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Night work…

 

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This is awesome…

Lou with a hot take…

DM @johnny_wunder

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The career earnings of Ben Hogan had he played in the modern era

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Ben Hogan earned a total of $332,517 during his career on the course, which makes you wonder how much he would have collected if he played today.

David McSweeney of GolfLogic (and avid Hogan fan) has crunched the numbers. Factoring in inflation, his findings show that based on the dollar’s current value those $332k winnings equate to $3.9M in 2021. But had he played today, McSweeney revealed that Hogan’s on-course earnings would have been a monstrous $176,728,205.

However, the game’s purses haven’t always been as impressive as they are now, and the consensus is that the reason for today’s whopping prize money is down to the impact Tiger Woods has had on the sport.

So, McSweeney also figured out how much Hogan would have earned if he played in the Tiger-era and the results are fascinating.

On a sliding scale over the past 25 years, McSweeney found that Hogan would have earned $91.8M, putting Hogan third on the all-time money list, behind Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Would Hogan have won more or less if he played in the Tiger-era? Well, that’s a never-ending debate, but it’s an incredible look into the potential earnings of one of the greats had he been around today.

It’s also worth pointing out that Hogan, who won 64 PGA tournaments including 9 majors, sustained severe injuries in a car accident in 1949, which limited the number of events he was able to play after that. Despite that, 6 of his 9 major wins were achieved post-accident.

On the calculating process, McSweeney revealed

“For total potential earnings ($176.7M) we used the latest purses from PGA tournaments, and allocated earnings based on his finish position. Where a tournament Hogan entered was defunct, we used a PGA average purse of $7.045M.

But this figure was based on 2020 purses. And as PGA winnings have increased exponentially over the past 20 years, did not provide a fair comparison against other players on the all-time money list. So we also calculated a ‘Tiger era’ figure, which had Hogan’s early tournament performances earnings less (around 20% of current purses), and increasing over time until they reached modern purses in his final tournament years (1967 and 1970).”

Check out McSweeney’s full study and methodology here.

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Justin Thomas on being dropped by Ralph Lauren: ‘I put them in a terrible position’

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Justin Thomas is in action in Abu Dhabi this week and has spoken for the first time since Ralph Lauren ended their relationship following a slur Thomas made at the Tournament of Champions.

Speaking to media at the European Tour event, the 27-year-old said

“It’s humiliating, it’s embarrassing, and it’s not me. It’s not a word that I use, but for some reason, it was in there. And that’s what I’m trying to figure out as to why it was in there, and it’s going to be a part of this process and training program or whatever I need to do, not only to prove to myself but prove to my sponsors and prove to those people that don’t know who I am that that is indeed not the person I am.”

Ralph Lauren severed ties with JT last weekend, and its a decision which Thomas understands as he admitted that he put them in a “terrible position”.

“They just felt like they needed to move on. That’s exactly what I’m doing, as well. It was a great run that we had and a great partnership, but you know, things will work out for the best. Just like my other partners and other sponsorships, it was an opportunity for them to help me, just like I hope to help them. But like I said, they had to do what they had to do.

They are a huge, huge global brand, and I have to respect their decision. I wasn’t disappointed, because I put them in a terrible position. I just was more upset.”

Thomas also discussed his excellent relationship with the global brand and how he believes that he will become a better man and person due to what happened.

“I had a great relationship with a lot of people there, and like I said, we would have had the opportunity to do it together, and I totally respect their decision and I’ve moved on from it. I’ve had great communication with all of them.

 It was obviously not calls or emails I was hoping or planning to make, but I needed to because I have some great long-lasting partnerships with all my sponsors. They know that’s not the person that I am. They know that’s not how I act and although they are far from brushing it to the side just like I am, they understand that this is an opportunity for me to educate myself, grow, become a better person. 

I know that I’ll become a better man and a better person because of it, and they are going to kind of help me along that process.”

As for what’s next apparel wise for Thomas, on Monday in Abu Dhabi he was still wearing an RLX shirt at the course. However, per Golf Monthly’s Joel Tadman, JT wore a Peter Millar polo shirt and mid-layer in Abu Dhabi yesterday and today with his RLX shorts, which he sourced himself.

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