Golf Can Learn from Tennis When It Comes to Slow Play, Says McIlroy

Rory McIlroy is looking outside of golf for inspiration when it comes to beating slow play. The Northern Irishman has suggested that the penalties implemented in tennis might provide a model for his sport. His comments come after the glacial pace of play at the Solheim Cup last weekend.

“It’s not a great thing for our game,” said McIroy about slow play. “I don’t want to single out particular people, but I watched a lot of the Solheim Cup at the weekend and it was really slow.

“As much as you want to sit there and watch and support the European girls, it’s just hard not to get frustrated with it. I am a fan of golf and I want the best for the game, something has to be done.”

Solheim competitors were on track for six-hour rounds during the first two days of competition, a scenario skewed slightly because not many matches lasted 18 holes.

McIlroy continued: “It’s hard because there’s different scenarios where you have to take your time. It was tough conditions up there. It was windy. But you know, something has to be done.”

He suggested turning toward tennis for inspiration when it comes to a solution to this issue. “If you look at the US Open final, Rafa [Nadal] got a time clock violation on a really big serve. Like, at the end of the final of the US Open. So, if they can do it then there’s no reason why we can’t. It’s just a matter of enforcing it and being consistent with it.”

While there have been some efforts to curb slow play, such as implementing the three minutes to search for a ball to the rules of golf this year, more can be done, according to players like McIlroy.

He hopes the PGA TOUR will follow the lead of the European Tour, which recently announced a four-point plan to combat slow play. According to the new rules, players will be given an immediate one-stroke penalty if they incur two bad times in a round. There will also be increased fines for golfers who consistently fall behind schedule.

“We are already at the forefront of pace of play management in the professional game,” said the European Tour’s chief executive Keith Pelley.

“I believe the plan we are implementing for the 2020 season will bring about meaningful change that will make golf even more enjoyable for the players and our fans.”

See also: Slow Play Back on the Agenda, but Will It Be Punished?
PGA TOUR ‘Should Consider’ Shot Clock
2019 Golf Rule Changes Revealed
European Tour Announces Punishment for Slow Play

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