Are you looking forward to clawing your eyeballs out listening to storytime with Jim Nantz while Jason Day goes through his Five Moments pre-shot routine? If so, you’re in luck, as it seems this year we’ll have no shortage of impulses toward self harm.
That’s right. Jason Day, widely regarded as one of the slowest players on the collective glacier that is the PGA Tour, has promised to play even more slowly this year.
Speaking with reporters ahead of the SAS Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, Day said that he allowed others’ remarks about his swing and pace of play to affect him last year.
@ESPNCaddie… Heard the Day vs Rory match took 4 hours. Umm not good.
— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) March 27, 2016
“I think there were a couple things that I didn’t do as well the second half in the season. I wasn’t as deliberate going into a golf shot. Gathering the information, I wasn’t as deliberate,”
“Obviously, everyone wants to speed up the game. Obviously, that’s a big subject in golf, to speed up the game. But in my opinion, I don’t care so much about speeding up my game. I’ve got to get back to what makes me good.
“You have to do everything you can to win. If you are in position and you take a minute over the ball to get what you need to and you are still in position, then that’s fine.”
Here’s the problem: It’s hard to argue with the fact that, in a sport where maximizing one’s level of calmness and information intake, time is a crucial variable. Namely, the more of it you take, the better your play. However, it’s also hard to argue that anybody wants to watch a golfer take a half hour over a putt, even if it is to win a tournament.
Spieth said yesterday “the back 9 felt rushed!” I’d let him have that excuse if his group hadn’t taken nearly 6 hours to get round! #STP
— Secret Tour Pro (@secrettourpro) April 9, 2016
And the watching is thing, as, after all, pro golf is a spectator sport sustained by television and advertising dollars. So, viewers, in our eternally faster-paced world, want the drama to unfold as rapidly as possible. And the golfers, as the actors in that drama, generally want to take as much time as possible.
Such is the appropriate frame for the slow-play issue at the tour level. And if it bothers viewers, Jason Day is right to take notice, as they are the added zeros on PGA Tour winner’s checks relative to Web.com toilers’.
But of course, in the absence of the PGA Tour actually levelling slow-play penalties or a massive exodus of viewers, Day is right to do what he feels will put him in the best position to win…even if it makes him sound like a knob.
See the world No. 1’s full press conference below