Our all-star panel is back at it – Golf Channel/Sirius XM’s Michael Breed, renowned swing guru Hank Haney, Golfweek’s Geoff Shackelford, Golf Channel/PlayGolfMyrtleBeach.com’s Charlie Rymer, pro golfer/social media personality Paige Spiranac and Golf Tourism Solutions’ Bill Golden – as they take on the issue of slow play that’s been prominent on the PGA TOUR in recent weeks.
We’re coming to you from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, “The Golf Capital of the World.” Just a few of my friends here. We’re going to throw around some topics for discussion in the world of golf right now. Let me introduce everybody. We’ve got Mr. Bill Golden down there at the end. He’s the CEO of Golf Tourism Solutions. Geoff Shackelford, long-time buddy who is “The King of Golf Blogs.” And Hank Haney, who’s just “The King of Golf.” Always fun to be hanging out with you, Hank. And Paige Spiranic. Paige, if you don’t know, is a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model who has a big voice in the world of golf. Always fun to hang out with you, Paige. And who are you? Oh, this is that fast-talking guy, Mr. Michael Breed!
So I love being with you guys. We don’t have a ton of time. So I thought that we would talk about slow play. Let’s see how that works. Who wants to start first? Jeff, you’re dying to jump in. Your thoughts on slow play? I mean, it seems like it’s the end of the world in golf right now with slow play …
Oh, I think it’s been fantastic though that we’ve had this debate. It needed to happen. There are two elements to it. There’s the golf course part, which I think is mostly caused by fast greens, greens that are too fast. Then there’s this player part, that “not ready” golf part that kind of got Bryson (DeChambeau) picked on. But we need this to happen because when a fan goes out to a golf tournament and watches, they don’t need to watch somebody take two minutes to hit a putt and look at their green book. So this is a good thing. I think that we’re having this discussion.
I hear you Jeff, but Hank, how do you tell somebody who’s playing for $15 million in one week to speed up?
Better set some rules. I mean, they’d have to have enforceable rules and they don’t, and they never have. And every player who’s ever played the PGA TOUR talks about it. You know it, Charlie. I mean, they all talk about it and they never do anything. Mark O’Meara tells me they used to go in these meetings for years and years and years and all talk about it and then never do a thing. And I don’t see how you’re ever going to get the average player that just plays the game for fun to play faster if you don’t set a better example.
Michael, I’ve got a question for you related to all of this. If you’re working with a student who’s playing a PGA TOUR event and they’re slow and they aggravate their opponents, but playing slow helps them win more money while at the same time aggravating their opponents, why in the world would you tell them to speed up?
You know, Charlie, it’s an interesting thing. I think if you’re competing against people in this sport, in my opinion, you have to pay attention to what’s happening around you. And there’s a natural order in my opinion that says, “Hey, I know I’ve got to respect what I’m doing, but I’ve got to respect also what everybody else is doing.” And I think to Hank’s point, we have to start to come up with hard, fast rules and we have to start to enforce it a little bit. And I know that … I spoke to a couple of people down at the Tour Championship and they were talking about “Hey, we’re putting people on the clock and they’re getting fined.”
We just don’t hear about the administration of this rule. I don’t know. The whole thing kind of … To Geoff’s point, has come to a great spot. We’ve got to do something. I love what the European Tour is doing. They are going to take some active strides in making sure that this stops.
They’re being aggressive. Paige, so far we’re basically talking about tour golf and the pace of play there. You got this huge following on social media. How does the tour golf discussion on speeding these players up, how does it relate to real golfers out there?
I think everyone wants to play faster. I remember in AJGA we used to do the red/green/yellow card system. So if you were on pace they would lift up a green card, if you were playing slower, red, or yellow. And that really worked. And I think it was great. From all my comments, it seemed like everyone was on Bryson and I feel really bad for him because it wasn’t just him, it’s a really big problem. And they need to fix something about it. But when you’re going out to the public golf course, it’s a huge problem there too. So, even if they fix it on the tour, I don’t know if that’s actually going to translate to real-life golf.
Bill, is it really a problem? You’re an expert in the business that golf. Is it really a big huge issue in public play?
I think it’s a deterrent. How huge of a problem is on a day-to-day basis. But the perception is that it’s a deterrent, that it takes long to play. And some of that comes from what we see on TV. And I think the TOUR does have a responsibility to create rules with consequences. Rules have to have consequences and they should be public because they do have some stewardship over the game of golf. We see it here at the World Amateur. We see it in junior golf. The amount of time spent on the putting greens after they hit the green, and they get that from TV. They get it from TV and it’s ingrained upon them and we need to do a better job of pushing out the right information. I think it starts with the TOUR and goes all the way down.
Well, it’s great to hear everyone’s thoughts on this issue. I’m normally the optimist. You know that Geoff?
Yeah, but you’re the one talking about gamesmanship over here. Tell your young players to be rude.
Well, they’re trying to put meat in the pot. But I’m pessimistic on this issue. I think we’re all going to sit around and talk about it, and I don’t think anything’s going to change because, and I quote George Carlin on this, he’s talking about driving down the interstate. “Anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, anybody driving faster than you is a maniac.” This is a question that will never get answered, even though we all gave it our best efforts. Appreciate it, guys.