I don’t know how many friends Bryson DeChambeau has on the PGA Tour, but he doesn’t seem to be making any new ones. DeChambeau, often the chief protagonist when it comes to the slow play conversation, took a painful amount of time to read a not-very-long putt in Round 2 of the Northern Trust on Friday. The clip made the rounds on Twitter, and boy is it not very fun to watch.
The funniest (?) part is watching playing partner Justin Thomas in the background. J.T. is on the faster end of the spectrum, and you can see him start to mentally unwind as DeChambeau lines up the putt. The video itself is 140 seconds, and while I’d like to say this is an aberration for DeChambeau, it’s really not.
Other tour pros were not pleased with the optics of this.
DeChambeau picked a bad week for this display. Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy both railed on slow play at the start of the week ahead of this first FedEx Cup Playoff event, which is more fuel on a years-long fire.
“I get that we’re out here, we’re playing, and there’s nothing I can do about it,” Koepka said. “But at the same time, it’s up to the rules officials. What I don’t understand is if I hit in the water, I have to take a penalty stroke. It’s in the rule book. And then you have 40 seconds to hit a shot. That’s in the rule book, too. So I don’t want to take a penalty shot. They are all in the rule book. So figure it out and penalize somebody.”
Rarely does slow play get punished, although the rules — as noted by Koepka — are supposed to be that once you’re put on the clock and you get another bad time (over 40 seconds), you’re warned. A second bad time after being put on the clock results in a one-stroke penalty. It never actually comes to fruition, though McIlroy agreed that it should.
“For me, I think the guys that are slow are the guys that they get too many chances before they are penalized. 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.
“We are not children that need to being 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 penalized and I think that’s the way forward.”
Maybe DeChambeau, ever the inventor and entrepreneur, is simply forcing the PGA Tour’s hand. Maybe he’s the one to bring about great change on this issue. I don’t know that he boasts the self-awareness to play that long game, but one can dream that the villain of this story will one day become the hero and that all this slow play will eventually be eradicated.