Paul Gallagher wonders if the Italian’s bold move to list the slow play offenders on twitter will have any lasting impact or was it just a publicity stunt?
Did Edoardo Molinari embark on a noble crusade against the plight of slow play or was it an irrelevant exercise that will do little to change the landscape of the tortuous snail’s pace within golf?
The lesser spotted Molinari took to twitter over the weekend to lament the five and a half hours it took to play the second round of the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco. “It’s time that professional golf does something serious for slow play…5h30mins to play 18 holes on a golf course without rough is just too long…way to long! #stopslowplay,” tweeted @DodoMolinari.
After his tweet quickly gained traction Dodo decided he would name and shame the slow play offenders on a list if he got over 1,000 retweets – which, of course, he did!
Spain’s Adrian Otaegui topped the list (with six bad times in 10 events) that included high profile players like Henrik Stenson and John Rahm (neither of whom are considered slow) plus his own brother Francesco.
You can’t help feeling if Edoardo’s Major winning brother had delivered this speed bomb then the outcome might have held more gravitas. Even with Frankie’s dull delivery, a message coming from an Open Champion rather than his journeyman brother might have made some sit up and take more notice?
So, was it just a publicity stunt by the player, or a genuine attempt to address a real problem within golf?
Another thing to consider is ‘ratting out’ your peers without their consent. There are two sides to any argument. It could be said Edoardo was well within his rights to speak against slow play and the information he published was fair game and available for all players on tour.
Others will argue this is an issue for the tour only and players within it. The tour might argue they are dealing with slow play through bad times and fines and to make these lists public serves no purpose. Some go further and say Edoardo’s actions will make no difference, it’s a futile exercise.
One such player was Graeme McDowell who, while understanding Edoardo’s frustrations, maintains his efforts won’t make a blind bit of difference, at least not to tournament play on courses that typically measure over 7,500-yards.
“I saw his [Edoardo’s] tweet ‘We need to play faster, blah, blah, blah’, I get it. I hear where Edoardo is coming from, but he is, what shall we say, flogging a dead horse,” insisted McDowell when speaking at last weekend’s Zurich Classic on the PGA Tour.
McDowell doesn’t believe there is a quick fix and shaving off 20 minutes here of there is not going to change anything.
“Golf courses are long, golf courses are hard, we’re playing for a lot of money, it’s big business and it is what it is,” said McDowell, who was refreshingly honest about his own pace too. He admitted he’s been put on the clock five times this year, halfway to 10 when players get fined $25,000 on the PGA Tour.
“There’s just no way to speed the game up really. You can try these small percentages, but at the end of the day, it’s very hard to get around a 7,600-yard course with tucked pins with a three-ball in less than 4.45, 5 hours. You can’t do it.”
The Portrush man then added: “I hear Edoardo. We all hear him. We all wish we could play a little faster to attract more people to the sport. We’re trying.”
Edoardo’s decision to take the slow play issue to such a public forum as social media can be debated all day long. One thing we can surely all agree on though is his sentiment when the Italian said, “it’s time that professional golf does something serious for slow play”.
If it doesn’t, golf is a sport that’s in serious danger of getting left behind.