R&A announces assault on curse of slow play

 

Royal Lytham

The curse of slow play will not be a blight on Lytham, according to the Open organisers. The players set forth today impelled to get a move on, and for those who don't, disqualification is the ultimate sanction.

Four and a half hours is the limit for three-balls over the opening two days, and three hours and 45 minutes for pairings over the weekend. It is a case of six strikes and out for those dragging feet. The first player is expected to take no more than 50 seconds to play, the second and third 40 seconds each. But if a player persistently goes over his time, a strict sliding scale of punishments begins with an instruction to catch up, followed by (ii) on the clock, where the above times are rigidly enforced, (iii) formal warning, (iv) one penalty stroke, (v) two further penalty strokes, (vi) disqualification.

"The R&A championship committee are putting slow play as priority," said championship committee chairman Jim McArthur. "We are intent on doing what we can to improve the pace of play in golf. I think we feel that slow play is, if not killing the game, is killing club membership because of the time it takes to play. And whatever we can do in our events, we will. But it needs to be a concerted effort, not just the R&A, not just the Tours, but the golf unions and other golf organisations, too, to come to a co-ordinated effort to improve the speed."

Andrew Willey was the last to be collared for the offence at the Open, copping a one-shot penalty at Troon eight years ago. Two months ago at the Wales Open, Ross Fisher was hit with a one-shot penalty on the final day when fighting for the title. The initiative will meet with the approval of the majority. Rickie Fowler, one of the sprinters on the PGA Tour, led the applause.

He said: "There's no reason to have waits on tees when you're playing twosomes. Never see it at home when we're playing twosomes. We're not waiting. I definitely think things can be sped up a little bit, and some guys end up playing a little better when they end up on the clock and have to move through the process a little quicker and maybe not think as much."

The R&A dealt a blow to golf in Ireland by declaring that the Open's return to Royal Portrush is unlikely. It was felt that the success of a sell-out Irish Open at the venue last month pointed to an imminent return. But that idea was dismissed by R&A chief executive Peter Dawson, who said: "It's a favourite of mine, a wonderful golf course, wonderful challenge. And it's great to see how successful the Irish Open was, particularly the enthusiasm from the spectators in that part of the world. But if you compare it with what we're doing here, we're talking 20,000 grandstand seats, and I doubt they had 2,000 at the Irish Open.

"You're talking about a tented village here I would estimate 10 or more times the size it was at the Irish Open. And the crowd at the Irish Open, whilst it was very good, was only as good as perhaps the lowest crowd we expect at an Open venue. Where would you have the 72nd hole? Where would you put the big grandstand complex? The practice ground would need a lot of work at Portrush in my own estimation. There would be much work to do for an Open to go to Portrush."

There was positive news out of Brazil, where Dawson declared that the course construction ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where golf makes its Olympic debut, is on course.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England