Guthrie picks up the pace in pairing with Tiger

A notorious slow player, Luke Guthrie found himself playing at a much brisker pace when paired with Tiger Woods last weekend at the Honda Classic.

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If the PGA Tour is searching for answers to the pace-of-play problem, perhaps it should give guys a little push and assign them a spot in the pairings opposite Tiger Woods. Heck, it seems to have worked for Luke Guthrie, who smiles when he speaks the truth: “I’ve had a rap of being a little slow.”

A year ago at the Honda Classic, when Guthrie was in the last group in Sunday’s final round with Michael Thompson, his pace of play was given much scrutiny. A third-round pairing in this year’s Honda Classic, his first with Woods, provided Guthrie a chance to show what he had learned.

“Sometimes, I can get distracted, so my goal was to play a little quicker and be decisive,” said Guthrie. He knew big galleries would move after Woods played his shot, that there would be much to look at, so committed to being decisive.

Guthrie concedes his reputation was well-deserved.

“I think that comes from college golf, growing up at a public course (with) six-hour rounds. So I’m used to walking up to the ball and hanging out for a little bit, (but) I’m trying to kick it out of me. I did better.”

Indeed, he did, because as Woods played in an usually brisk pace, Guthrie kept up nicely. How nicely? Woods shot 65, Guthrie shot 65.

Sweet music to the ears of those who abhor slow play is the fact that Guthrie seemed to love the way it went, so consider him a convert. When he drew Woods as a playing competitor in Sunday’s final round, Guthrie continued the trend and he again played well. In fact, before Woods withdrew, the two of them played 31 holes, Guthrie going 4 under, Woods shooting level par.

“It worked and I play better when I play faster,” said Guthrie.

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