“It’s a very important issue and we hear the players’ position,” he said.
Phil Mickelson said he remained skeptical that anything would change. “It’s been a topic of discussion since I came out on tour,” said Mickelson, who turned pro in 1992. “I think we just need to quit complaining and deal with the fact that it is what it is.”
Slow play has been a pox on the pro game since long before Mickelson, 49, arrived on the scene. During the 1949 United States Open at Medinah, the slack pace exasperated officials, according to “Miracle at Merion,” a 2010 book by David Barrett. For the 1950 tournament, held at Merion, a note was posted in the locker room imploring players to speed up, Barrett wrote.
The first threesome in 1947 finished in 3 hours 27 minutes and the last in 4:16, the book said, prompting Joe Dey, the United States Golf Association executive director, to grouse, “This is murder on spectators as well as players who wish to play at a reasonable speed.”
Players are not always entirely at fault. Slick greens combined with swirling winds can be a recipe for trouble, said Holmes, who explained, “The harder you make these golf courses, you have to put more thought into it.”
Playing alongside Tiger Woods, who attracts large, boisterous crowds that are hard to corral and harder to hush, can be especially tough. “You’re going to go slower because there’s extra stuff going on,” said Jordan Spieth, a three-time major winner and former world No. 1, who is often a target of criticism.
But players have control over their preshot routines, some of which have crossed into compulsions.
“It seems now that there are so many sports psychologists and everybody telling everybody that they can’t hit it until they are ready, that you have to fully process everything,” Koepka said.