- The European Tour created a new ruling for slow play in 2016
- Jordan Spieth was given a penalty while putting during the HSBC Championship
Not only is the European Tour cracking down on their slow play ruling, but they are not afraid to penalize anyone, not even the World No. 1.
Jordan Spieth quickly realized this as European Tour chief referee John Paramor told him he was being monitored for taking too long to play a shot.
“I was told I took too long over my putt on the 8th green,” said Spieth, who returned 4-under-par 68 to be four shots off Bryson DeChambeau’s lead. “The group behind us hadn’t even reached the fairway. It didn’t make any sense to me.
“I don’t know how long I took on the putt. I do believe I was over the time. I read the putt from behind the hole and couldn’t even see the group behind. Then I called my caddie over to take a look because I felt like we had time.”
In the past, they would tell players they were on the clock, and leave them alone to catch up. Now a rules official stays with the group to monitor it and see who is holding up play. This is where the ruling gets a bit tricky, because even though there is a certain time allotted for each shot, there are also circumstances that these referees need to take into consideration. These players have a lot to deal with already, without the stress of wondering if they’re taking too long. Sure slow play is a problem, but a few seconds here and there when no one is actually waiting shouldn’t be a big deal.
“I understand that if we are being timed and I take too long I get a bad time. I understand the rule. But it doesn’t make sense when we had caught up and were going off the clock. It had no effect on the round. It’s a bit of a grey area.”
Spieth will be made to pay a $2,800 fine if he gets another monitoring penalty.
“It was a bit of a weird one,” McIlroy said, coming to the defense of his partner during the first round in Abu Dhabi. “Sometimes referees have to use a bit of common sense. We were not delaying anyone behind, and we were keeping up with the game in front.”
Clearly The European Tour is trying to make it very clear to all players that this ruling is very real and no one is exempt from penalties. Hopefully they don’t get too carried away, like how Oprah used to give away cars like they grew on trees.
You get a penalty, you get a penalty, everybody get’s a penalty for slow playyyyyy!