Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

Pablo Larrazabal has accused up to 20 DP World Tour golfers of “cheating” by deliberately breaking slow play rules. 

The perennial problem of glacial golf is a fiercely debated topic in the locker rooms – and was reignited by Larrazabal after last week’s BMW International Open in Germany.

Larrazabal complained on social media that mental coaches are in fact the indirect perpetrators of the slow play because they advise players: “Don’t hit it if you are not sure.”

And the Spaniard is adamant that such irrational interference is damaging the game.

“Practice rounds are slow. Everything is slow. We have to get rid of five hour rounds. Golf has to take less than four hours. We have to work quicker and think less,” he told ahead of this week’s Genesis Scottish Open.

“Mental coaches are most of the problems. When they tell you don’t hit the ball until you’re ready, that’s a big problem.”

• Rickie Fowler backs Keegan Bradley to be playing-captain

• Ex-LIV Golf stars to make history at Genesis Scottish Open

The DP World Tour’s Tournament Committee are engaged in regular conversations to battle this issue – with Eddie Pepperell revealing on X that one player racked up £100,000 in slow play fines in 2023.

David Howell – chair of the committee – said in January that two shot penalties are also now on the cards for “ignorant” offenders. Larrazabal, however, believes these stringent rules cannot be implemented when the dithering players are too difficult to catch.

“The problem is that there are not enough referees taking times because there are only six or eight referees on the golf course and we are 156 players,” the nine-time tour winner added. “Until we have 12 or 14 referees and they can catch all these slow guys, all these cheaters, we’re going to keep having problems.

“There are a good 15-20 (DP World Tour players) that are over the time by far. We cannot do anything until the tournament committee puts in harder rules. That’s how it is. If you don’t follow them you are a cheater and you are taking the money out of the pockets of many people.

• How playing golf with Jimmy Bullard taught a DP World Tour star a valuable lesson

• McEwan: Keegan Bradley appointment makes total sense (and might just be a masterstroke)

“Obviously we are the ones that play the game, but our caddies, our mental coaches, our physical trainers, they make money off what we do so if you are not following the rules – saying if you don’t follow the rules you are a cheater – you’re taking money from around 700-800 families. If you start thinking about it is very tough.

“What’s the word for not following the rules? It’s that easy.”

Larrazabal believes targeting the bank account of his wealthy colleagues is a futile mission. He thinks punishing players with penalty shots – and more drastically cutting their world ranking and Race to Dubai points – is the only way to force change.

“We have a Tournament Committee that has to take actions and that’s why we vote them because we believe they are the best people to take care of the rules on our tour,” he said. “But we have to go stronger and penalty shots will be the answer.

“To pay £100,000 in one year in the slow play is not enough. They still win golf tournaments playing slow. World ranking points, Race to Dubai Points. That’s the answer. If you take that out of their pocket they will change their approach to play the game.

“Fines are very small. At the end of the day we are thinking about ranking points, Race to Dubai points, money. These guys have enough money to pay a 20 grand fine. Penalise them.”

author headshot

Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses