J.B. Holmes decision to take four minutes and 10 seconds to hit his second shot on the final hole of the Farmers Insurance Open caused quite a stir. Holmes stood waiting for the wind to die down after Ryan Palmer had hit his second shot and while Alex Noren, who was tied for the lead, waited for a chance to hit his. This made the crowd restless, Twitter angry, and commentators Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo mention the situation.
I wrote that the PGA Tour needs to address the situation or players will be standing waiting for favorable winds whenever they see the opportunity to gain an advantage.
However, there are some who feel that J.B. did nothing wrong, including Justin Thomas and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.
Thomas, the 2017 Player of the Year, told the media ahead of the Waste Management Phoenix Open that he, “has J.B.’s back.”
Via Golfweek, “I have J.B.’s back all day on that situation. It bothered me and I hate it for him. I went up to him (Tuesday) and told him … it was a great tournament for him, but I have a hard time saying I wouldn’t do anything differently than he did.”
“If you put me in 18 fairway and I need an eagle to win the golf tournament or to have a chance to win the golf tournament, I mean I knew the exact position he was in and I would do the same thing. If I have a 5-wood in my hands – and he hits it pretty similar trajectory to me – that thing’s going to go high. And into the wind, he’s into about a 10- to 15-mph wind, that wind gusts at all, like it was, when he was waiting for the gusts to go down, that ball’s in the water. Three-wood, as long as he hits it, has no chance. You saw where (Alex) Noren hit it and J.B.’s probably longer than Noren, so and then he’s got no chance.”
“So he’s debating what to do, what to not do. I get it, 4 minutes, 10 seconds is a long time, but nobody behind him, last hole, you need a ‘3’ to win the golf tournament, you need to take as long as you can.”
While it’s easy to understand that there are players who would agree with what J.B. did, that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem that needs to be addressed.
That brings us to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who had previously stated that he didn’t believe pace of play was an issue. He reiterated that sentiment with the statement below.
“As it relates to J.B. … He was in the heat of the moment. It’s really hard to win out here. You’re trying to think through how you can get on the green in two with that amount of wind. I think he thought it would subside quickly, and it subsided and picked back up, and I think he said what he needed to say.”
This is also a reasonable line of thinking, but not when it takes four minutes and 10 seconds to hit the shot. One minute is fine, two minutes is pushing it, but four minutes? Four minutes is a joke and makes it seem as if the player can just stand all day waiting for a favorable wind before deciding to hit no matter the circumstances.
This is unacceptable and it appears that the only way something is going to get done to change this is if the networks get involved and pressure the PGA Tour to speed up play, however, if the networks see this type of controversy as something that will attract viewers why would they want it changed?
It appears that for now that pace of play will not be addressed by anyone with any sort of power to change it, so just get used to those six-hour rounds because they aren’t going anywhere for now.