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Last weekend, Jon Rahm won his second major championship and returned to the top of golf’s world rankings after winning the 87th edition of the Masters. While the Spaniard’s victory was of course the biggest headline to come from the tournament, there were also plenty of interesting subplots.
One was the fact that Rory Mcilroy missed the cut, while another was Tiger Woods having to withdraw from the event on day three due to injury. One of the biggest subplots, however, revolved around Patrick Cantlay and his supposed slow play.
Cantlay played in the penultimate group on Sunday alongside Viktor Hovland and he has been accused by various people of being the root cause of the final group taking five hours to complete their round. Brooks Koepka, who was part of the final group with Jon Rahm, said:
“Yeah, the group in front of us was brutally slow. Jon went to the bathroom like seven times during the round, and we were still waiting.”
The pair had to wait for the group in front on almost every shot they played throughout their round and many people believe that it was Cantlay, not Hovland, who was to blame. This belief stems from a video on the 7th hole which shows Hovland breaking etiquette and making his way to the green before Cantlay had played his shot, seemingly because he was fed up of waiting for his playing partner.
Viktor literally cannot wait any longer for Patrick Cantlay. pic.twitter.com/GtdlmLHPzn
— TweeterAlliss (Parody) (by Jove) (@TweeterAlliss) April 9, 2023
Cantlay comes out swinging
Although Cantlay does have a lengthy setup, the 31-year-old has come out and defended himself ahead of the RBC Heritage, which starts this Thursday. Talking to reporters this week, the world number four said:
“We finished the first hole, and the group in front of us was on the second tee when we walked up to the second tee, and we waited all day on pretty much every shot. We waited on the 15th fairway, and we waited on the 18th fairway. I imagine it was slow for everyone.
When you play a golf course like Augusta National where all the hole locations are on lots of slope and the greens are really fast, it’s just going to take longer and longer to hole out.
I think that may have been what attributed to some of the slow play on Sunday, and then also when the wind is gusting and the wind is blowing maybe inconsistently, that’s when guys will take a long time, too. I think that’s just the nature of playing professional golf, where every shot matters so much.”
How to stop slow play?
Despite all the talk about Cantlay’s slow play last weekend, the only people who can put a stop to slow play in golf are officials. In Cantlay’s case, it would be PGA Tour officials, however, slow play penalties are rarely issued on the tour which has perhaps contributed to the situation getting out of hand.
General advice within the PGA Tour handbook states that players shouldn’t take more than 40 seconds per shot, however, this has never been enforced. One way to tackle slow play in golf could be to trial a shot clock – something the quicker players on tour would certainly get behind.
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