Has Jon Rahm solved the PGA Tour’s slow play problem?

Padraig Harrington’s support for rangefinders has Jon Rahm’s vote as well – but the Spaniard has also identified another problem that could solve the PGA Tour’s pace of play issue

There have been a number of strategies suggested to reduce slow play on the PGA Tour since the final round of the Masters.

Brooks Koepka has suggested issuing a slow play penalty for those falling behind, while three-time major champion Padraig Harrington has advocated the use of rangefinders in competition.

Speaking at the Memorial Tournament, Rahm supported Harrington’s idea after the Irishman used his laser at both the PGA Championship and Senior PGA Championship in recent weeks.

But, Rahm floated another suggestion as to why the pace of play is under such scrutiny on the PGA Tour – in relation to field size.

“What happened at Augusta was taken out of context a little bit,” Rahm said in Ohio. “Because Patrick and Viktor waited until the 16th hole as well.

“We got to the 2nd hole and Patrick and Viktor were still on the tee. So there was a lot of waiting for everybody, not just them.

“It’s a tough subject because for the most part when you have a field – or when you have too many players in the field, it’s going to be slower.

“It’s just how it is. So a lot of times field sizes make more of a difference. We rarely hear about it in the playoffs when it’s 50 guys on the weekend playing twosomes. So it’s about how many groups you have out there. It’s just going to happen.

“Short of putting a shot clock next to each other, and I don’t even think that’s going to help because you have one wayward tee shot and then you’re looking for the ball for a few minutes and then the group behind you is already caught up and you’re waiting.

“So I think it’s about how many people are on the golf course at the time.”

Patrick Cantlay appears to have been singled out in recent months as a particularly slow player following footage from the Masters tournament and subsequent weeks on tour.

The American has since defended himself, explaining the issue at Augusta was not down to his group.

In 2020, the PGA Tour updated its Pace of Play Policy and created an observation list designed to identify players who averaged longer than 45 seconds to hit a shot, without a valid reason.

Players who took over 120 seconds to hit a shot without explanation would be given an “Excessive Shot Time” and observed by an official.

A warning is supposedly issued after one bad time and a re-offense results in a one-shot penalty. Excessive Shot Times are meant to incur $10,000 and $20,000 fines for a second offense and extra offenses.

However, the last player to be penalised for slow play on tour was John Catlin in 2021 – then we had the infamous incident in 2013 at the Masters when 14-year-old Tianlang Guan was given a penalty too.

Rahm’s opinion on the slow play debate could be rather timely with the PGA Tour introducing a series of no-cut events in 2024 that feature smaller fields of between 70 to 78 players.

How would you address the slow play debate? Tweet us!

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