Three-time US Open winner, Hale Irwin has said it’s up to players to “seize the initiative and get on with it”, as the PGA Tour doesn’t have the nerve to deal with slow play.
“As I sit here, I hope they will, but I don’t think the PGA has the backbone to say enough is enough,” he told UK Club Golfer. “There are pressures from so many different sources. That it makes it difficult. But I don’t want to see people standing around and talking. That’s boring.”
Irwin believes that the current rules are robust enough to deal with the situation but require firmer enforcement.
“I think the PGA Tour, R&A and the USGA have to get their heads together and realise that this is a significant problem and just enforce the rules that they have written. The rules read that it’s a two-shot penalty if you fall behind, so why not enforce it?
“I guarantee you if that rule was regularly enforced, then the speed of play would pick up immediately because nobody wants a two-shot penalty.”
“The bodies need officials who are enforcing those rules and have the gumption to do it. I don’t care if it’s Rory McIlroy or Brooks Koepka – you have got to put the penalty on them.”
“I would say that you need to identify the group of players, or turtles let’s call them, who are causing the log-jam and underline to them that if you don’t speed up then you are going to get a two-shot penalty.”
Irwin, who has 83 professional wins to his name and is a member of the Golf Hall of Fame, insists the issue has arisen from grassroots level.
“The problem is undoubtedly stemming from there. The coaches, the teachers, the influencers of young golfers have to take a stand and say ‘we are going to increase the pace of play’.”