On the 72nd hole of the Farmers Insurance Open, two players were tied atop of the leaderboard and headed for a playoff; Alex Noren and Jason Day. One stroke behind that group was Ryan Palmer and J.B. Holmes. Palmer hit the shot he needed to give himself a chance at making the playoff, but what Holmes did on his second shot pissed off a lot of people.
Holmes entered the 72nd hole needing an eagle to join a playoff group. He had two choices: go for the green in two and make the putt or lay-up and hole a chip. Holmes stood over his ball and backed off several times, taking a ridiculous four minutes and 10 seconds to hit a second shot that was not well executed and left him with a difficult chip (which he did not hole) from the rough to join the playoff.
Four minutes and 10 seconds is a staggering amount of time between golf shots. When watching on television it was even more obvious that Holmes was waiting for the wind to die down as he stood over the ball.
You can watch just how long it took from the time Palmer hit his second shot until Holmes FINALLY hit his.
Even though what Holmes did was excruciating, it was technically within the rules, and therein lies the problem. I understand waiting one minute to see if the wind dies down when there is more than $1 million on the line, but over four minutes should be penalized in some way. A player should not be allowed to stand there all day waiting for a favorable wind before hitting.
Of course, that would require the PGA Tour actually stepping in and doing something about it and as Geoff Shackelford points out over at Golfweek, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan does not see slow play as major issue. Meanwhile, his counterparts over on the European Tour are introducing rules to combat the issue.
After his round, Holmes said he did nothing wrong and defended his actions:
Holmes’ peers didn’t exactly like that he took so long either.
Will the PGA Tour step up and make some changes? With enough pressure from other respected players, television networks, and media it may, but I’m not holding my breath.