Slow play is one of golf’s most hot-button topics. While there are a million different opinions on how it can be fixed, the most simple answer is to hit the pros where it hurts — their scorecard.
Levying slow-play penalties is always the threat, but rarely ever the result. That changed this week on the PGA Tour Champions as Corey Pavin was assessed a one-stroke penalty following the completion of his final round at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic.
The 58-year-old Californian was poised to sign for an even-par 72, but rules official Michael Petch informed Pavin that he would need to post a 1-over par 73 as a result of a slow-play penalty.
Pavin would fall into a tie for 15th, which doesn’t seem to be too big of a deal except for the fact that the Dominion Energy Charity Classic was the first leg of the Charles Schwab Cup playoffs. The top-54 in the rankings advance to this week’s Invesco QQQ Championship and Pavin was squarely on the bubble to make the field.
His solid play all but guaranteed his place in the tournament, but the slow-play penalty threw the whole thing into flux once again.
Luckily, the penalty moved Pavin down into the 53rd position, meaning he has a spot in the upcoming event, but it was nearly a catastrophic penalty that could have ended the 15-time PGA Tour winner’s season.
It’s absolutely ridiculous. It took us 4 hours and 15 minutes to play a 2-ball (behind pictured guy I’ll add). We were an hour longer than the first guys that teed off. It’s unacceptable. https://t.co/rrlF3xB7bl
— Stephen Ames (@StephenAmesPGA) October 22, 2018
Golf Channel broadcaster Lanny Wadkins wondered aloud where the penalties have been for bad times for other players earlier this year and in years prior.
“Of all the things to happen with all the times, I have played — I can’t even count the number of rounds — I never thought Corey Pavin was a slow player,” Wadkins said on the telecast, specifically referencing Bernhard Langer at Mitsubishi Electric Championship earlier in the season. “All the guys we know are slow players have never been penalized out here. Where has this been for the last 15 years?”