Shane Lowry: European Tour means business regarding slow play

Shane Lowry talks about slow play in golf.

Shane Lowry: European Tour means business regarding slow play

Euro Tour

Shane Lowry: European Tour means business regarding slow play

STRAFFAN, Ireland – Shane Lowry believes the European Tour takes a stronger stance on slow play than the PGA Tour. 

The Irishman, a member of both tours, fears the European Tour referees more than their PGA Tour counterparts.

“American referees are not as intimidating as the European referees,” Lowry said Wednesday here at The K Club, site of this week’s Irish Open. “When you see John Paramor or Andy McFee (the European Tour’s chief referees) coming along, you know you want to speed up, and you know they will be hard on you. That’s what I like about the European Tour: they are a lot harder than they are over in America. The referees do their job well over here.”

The push to hasten play comes straight from the top on the European Tour. Keith Pelley, who took over as commissioner last year, announced that he intended to penalize slow play, which rates among the game’s biggest problems in many industry surveys. 

Slow-play penalities are practically non-existent on the PGA Tour. The most recent penalty for slow play at a regular Tour stop was issued more than two decades ago, to Glen Day at the 1995 Honda Classic. Before that, Dillard Pruitt, who ironically is now a Tour rules official, was assessed one stroke at the 1992 Byron Nelson event.

Tianlang Guan, a then-14-year-old amateur, was docked one stroke for slow play during the second round of the 2013 Masters. However, the PGA Tour does not administer the Masters; Augusta National Golf Club does.

According to media reports, the PGA of America assessed a one-stroke penalty to Gregory Bourdy in the final round of the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Steve Lowery was dinged a shot during the first round of the 2004 PGA, which also was played at Whistling Straits. The U.S. Golf Association penalized Edward Fryatt in the second round of the 1997 U.S. Open at Congressional. On the European Tour, Charl Coetzee (2013 Tshwane Open) and Ross Fisher (2012 Wales Open) were the most recent offenders.

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