Rory McIlroy calls for tougher penalties for slow play in golf
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 07/08/19 6:44pm
Rory McIlroy has called for golf's authorities to introduce tougher penalties for slow play, claiming that many current professionals set a bad example to the younger generation.
McIlroy believes the threat of being penalised a shot for repeated offences is "the way forward" to speed up the pace of play, a topic that has been a major talking point once again this season.
JB Holmes insisted he was "not even close" to being put on the clock despite taking over five-and-a-half hours to complete his winning final round at the Genesis Open in February, while the American came under fire from Brooks Koepka for playing too slowly on the final day of The Open last month.
Holmes escaped any punishment on both occasions, and McIlroy is adamant that stiffer penalties need to be implemented, although he conceded having a shot clock was arguably not the best solution.
"I don't think it's fine to do nothing because it's genuinely a problem in our game," said McIlroy ahead of The Northern Trust. "It starts at our level because people try to emulate us, and I've heard stories of college events and how long they take. There's no reason why it should take that long. I've said numerous times that it has to be addressed some way.
"I think the guys that are slow are the guys that get too many chances before they are penalised. So it should be a warning and then a shot. It should be you're put on the clock and that is your warning, and then if you get a bad time while on the clock, it's a shot. That will stamp it out right away.
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"I don't understand why we can't just implement that. We are not children that need to be told five or six times what to do. 'OK, you're on the clock, OK, I know if I play slowly here, I'm going to get penalised'. I think that's the way forward.
"We don't need time to recover between shots. We have time while we're walking to the next one and think about what we're doing.
"I don't necessarily think introducing a shot clock in golf is the right way to go, but I think giving guys less opportunities to be slow, I think that could be a good start."
McIlroy heads into the three-tournament FedExCup Play-Offs on the back of a missed cut at Royal Portrush followed by a disappointing finish at the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational, where he led going into the final round only to be upstaged by Koepka.
The world No 3 roared into the 54-hole lead with a stunning 62 but then made only one birdie on Sunday as he finished five shots adrift of Koepka, and he admitted: "I couldn't get the best out of myself when I really needed it.
"I felt like I hit it fine and I didn't do many things wrong on Sunday in Memphis, but I didn't do much right. I had a wedge and I would hit it to 25 feet and you're not going to hole putts from there. I holed a bunch from that range earlier in the tournament, but you can't rely on holing those putts each and every time you hit iron shots.
"I just didn't hit it close enough on Sunday, and that was really the difference."