Does Jordan Spieth take too much time?
Obviously the Masters was a difficult time for Jordan Spieth, he descibed the winner’s ceremony as the hardest moment for any defending champion at Augusta and he was probably correct. However, we were all encouraged not to feel sorry for him in a heartfelt letter written by his caddie Michael Greller.
I thought it might be time to look at an issue that was present on social media; was Jordan Spieth playing too slowly? To the people who are pathologically incapable of seeing the bigger picture when we talk about Jordan, please don’t take this personally. Spieth does play slowly, fact. Earlier this year he became the first player to be given a slow play penalty under the European Tour’s new initiative.
What this shows is what we already know. The PGA TOUR perpetuate the tradition of letting the big guys get away with murder. Tiger Woods was a fine exponent of leveraging his position to get what he wanted. The most competitive players are always gong to do everything in their power to get the edge and fair play to them.
@ESPNCaddie… Heard the Day vs Rory match took 4 hours. Umm not good.
— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) March 27, 2016
So as we can see Jordan is not the only one. This leaves one very alarming fact that a particularly passionate CLICKONITE brought forward in one of the comment sections. He was responding to a statement about Jason and Jordan being the slowest guys on TOUR:
Anonymous dude makes a very good point. Perhaps the two best players in the world are there because of their attention to detail and the lack of speed that this brings. I personally struggle to attribute the success of Jason and Jordan to their pre-shot “visualizations”. Plenty of top players get around the course quickly, many pros actually find excessive ponderment can negatively impact their game.
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!
— Secret Tour Pro (@secrettourpro) April 9, 2016
Here’s another argument that carries some weight:
The problem here is that it implies the slow play problem is specific to the final round of the Masters, which is just not true. This has consistently been a Spieth and Day issue, besides many of the criticisms for Jordan’s slow play came during the third round of the Masters. The 22-year-old blamed “swirling wind” and “tough conditions” for the extra time he took on each shot. He was subsequently followed by an an official, something that really got under his skin.
A video posted by Golfcentral Daily (@golfcentraldaily) on
This begs the question, where do we draw the line? Are golfers allowed to wait 90 seconds for the wind to die down? Is it reasonable to pick the optimum moment to play a shot every single time? These are the questions we need to ask as we try to make rules that combat this subjective issue.
My last point is the real take away from all of this:
This comment surfaced time and time again. Mainly from golf fans who occupied the whole “If you don’t like it go watch something else” position. This really gripes me, there are currently 50 million golfers in the world playing a sport that is contracting year-on-year. Golf doesn’t need its best players being interminably slow, we have a duty to broaden the appeal of our sport by quashing this stereotype. Of course I get that golf is, by its very nature inherently slow, but it doesn’t need to be as slow as players like Jordan are making it look. Spieth’s final hole on Saturday was sensationally sluggish. His approach took 2:10, his chip to the green took the same amount of time. And it took him 1:55 to line up his par putt.
I appreciate that the seriousness of this approach can be important to his success. However, underpinning all of this is the reality that the PGA TOUR does nothing to encourage top players to speed up, we need to instil some consistency. How about scrapping the “15 minutes per hole rule” and giving some of those uselessly officious fat men a stopwatch to time players as they get to their ball. You have 60 seconds from the point of address, there, done.