Slow play proves costly
Regardless of how experienced you are at the game of golf, you will undoubtedly hear the words 'slow play'. It is a frustrating myth that Women are slow golf players however this week, Klara Spilkova, learned an extreme lesson about slow play that not only cost her a place in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, but also the chance of any cash prize for making it past the cut.
No matter what level of player you are, slow play will affect you at some point. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for a playing partner to wipe their ball for the 5th time ahead of them starting their 3 minute pre-shot routine for them to back off due to a slight breeze in the air and start the whole exercise again which may also involve a last minute club change. As they execute their detailed mental game, yours slowly deteriorates and your muscles go cold.
Many of the female pro's have spoken out about slow play and how they welcome penalties being applied to try to end the behaviour which is harming the professional game. But, slow play penalties are rare when in professional golf. Just this year, The LPGA doubled the price of its fines and last year, seven pace-of-play fines were given out but only one two-stroke penalty.
Now, just to explain how these penalties play out, let me be clear that a warning is issued ahead of any penalty being applied. The warning basically alerts the player that they are now formally on the clock and if they do not improve their pace of play they may be subject to a penalty.
The 25-year-old Czech was just inside the cut line, at 5 over par, when after being warned about slow play, she was docked two strokes upon the conclusion of the 15th hole for a breach of the event's pace-of-play policy. That means her par became a double bogey and even though she went on to par her final three holes, the penalty saw her end +7 which was one shot outside the cut line. Had she avoided the penalty, she would have made the cut and continued playing into the weekend.
But an early exit from the tournament is not the only wound inflicted. Missing out on a share of the overall prize money where the cut lies is another tough pill to swallow, especially due to a penalty. For this event it is estimated at $8,000 for the player in last place, making it a costly price tag for being a slow golf player.