Jay Monahan: PGA Tour can't be 'overly reactionary' in addressing slow play

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Monahan: PGA Tour can't be 'overly reactionary' in addressing slow play

PGA Tour

Jay Monahan: PGA Tour can't be 'overly reactionary' in addressing slow play

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ATLANTA – The PGA Tour is in no rush.

And it shouldn’t be.

Despite the European Tour announcing Monday a four-point plan beginning next season to improve pace of play including reduced field sizes, stiffer penalties and larger fines, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said the organization in the New World won’t be influenced by its counterpart.

Monahan, in a gathering with members of the media Tuesday morning at East Lake Golf Club, said the Tour is on the right path toward resolving any issues regarding pace of play.

He feels everyone’s pain, he’s seen the ire on social media and heard from the mouths of top players after recent episodes of excruciatingly dawdling play. He’s just not going to lead a sprint to any resolutions.

“We’ve been working on this, and we can be criticized for taking too long,” Monahan said to a few chuckles from the listeners.

“But there’s been more than 1.2 million shots hit this year, and we’re talking about a few instances – and granted, they’re instances that are extreme – and we’re going to go down a path and we’re going to address that,” he added. “And I feel really good about where we’re going to get to, but it takes longer than you want, and you can’t be overly reactionary.

“I tend to have a fair amount of urgency around everything I do, and sometimes you can’t execute the urgency you want. You have to stay on the path you’re on.”

So far, that path has included numerous meetings with the Player Advisory Council and the Policy Board. More meetings are forthcoming.

And nine changes have been made to the Tour’s Pace of Play Policy since 1994. In addition, and to little fanfare, field sizes have been reduced. Tournaments opposite the WGCs have gone from 132 to 120 players, and the Genesis Open, the tournament Tiger Woods hosts at Riviera Country Club north of Los Angeles, went from 156 to 120 players.

Beginning next season the cut will bring the field down to the top 65 and ties instead of the top 70 and ties.

And if anyone noticed, there wasn’t a whiff of slow-play problems at last week’s BMW Championship, where threesomes on three of the four days played in roughly 4 hours, 40 minutes.

Monahan also has teams at PGA Tour headquarters in Florida analyzing ShotLink data on every shot hit on the Tour since 2003, looking for ways to possibly improve the pace of play.

Just as importantly, Monahan knows the pace of play has been an issue basically since the first feathery golf balls were hit hundreds of years ago. He knows this issue can harm the product. But speed is not of the essence when tackling this matter. The turtle’s pace is more prudent than that of the hare.

And Monahan’s right. Get it right instead of getting it right now.

“I wouldn’t say we’re going to be influenced in any way,” by the European Tour’s freshly minted directive, Monahan said. “I think everybody looking at this, talking about it is a good thing, and they’ve obviously decided that that’s the right thing for the European Tour. And when we’re ready to talk about what we’re going to do, I’ll be excited to talk to all of you about it.”

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