Molinari calls for drastic action on slow play ahead of British Open defense

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Molinari calls for drastic action on slow play ahead of British Open defense

Euro Tour

Molinari calls for drastic action on slow play ahead of British Open defense

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Francesco Molinari has called for action on slow play ahead of his defense of the British Open at Royal Portrush. The Champion Golfer of the Year for 2018 has joined brother Edoardo in demanding golf’s authorities take efforts to speed the game up.

Edoardo made headlines recently when he railed against slow play after taking five and half hours in the Trophée Hassan II. “It’s time that professional golf does something serious for slow play…5h30min to play 18 holes on a golf course without rough is just too long…way too long! #stopslowplay,” Edoardo tweeted in April.

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The 2005 U.S. Amateur champion went further than complain. He tweeted a photo of a list of players who had picked up bad times on this year’s European Tour. Francesco says his brother was “definitely” right to highlight the issue.

“It is something that affects all of us,” Francesco said. “The biggest issue is that we are all used to it and it seems we are all adapting to play slower rather than going the other way.”

Francesco says golf’s authorities must do something about perennial slow pokes.

“The way the rules are set right now are really ineffective because you end up punishing not so much the very slow players but randomly a player who has a doubt on his shot and takes 10 seconds longer,” he said. “The guys that are really slow know that they’re slow and have two speeds. One for when they are not on the clock and one for when they are on the clock. They need to find better rules that they can enforce and just punish the slower players.”

Francesco wants to see golf’s authorities become more draconian. He believes they should pay more attention to TV evidence to come down hard on the snails.

“They should be able to time us at any time. If they tell us at the beginning of the year, ‘Right this year we’ve got new rules and you can be timed on any shot at any time without any warning,’ then probably it will different from a player’s point of view because you know you can be penalized at any time,” Francesco said. “It should also work on TV. There have been examples this year of people taking three minutes to play a shot and it’s on TV, and there is evidence so why is something not done about it?”

The Italian hands back the trophy he won last year after a partly frustrating season in which he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational but lost the Masters over the final nine holes.

Molinari was expected to win his first green jacket after taking the lead into the final nine holes, but two balls in water at 12 and 15 saw him finish T-5. Did having major silverware in his trophy cabinet mitigate his Masters meltdown?

“For me having the claret jug showed me that I was able to do it but, in some ways, it might have made the disappoint even a little bit bigger that I wasn’t able to close it out,” Molinari said.

“It’s a loss in sport and, in any sport, it’s never easy to take a loss like that. But you analyze what’s happened, and you try to move on and ideally you want to put yourself in that position as soon as possible again so you can prove to yourself you can do better than you did that time.”

No player has won the old claret jug in successive years since Padraig Harrington in 2007-08. Molinari is a 22-1 shot with British bookmakers Ladbrokes to repeat.

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