It looks as though the European Tour is taking no prisoners in its crackdown on slow play.
Just ask Graeme McDowell.
The former US Open champion was given a warning for his pace during the second round of the Saudi International - after stopping to give an on-course interview to the tour’s TV broadcast partner Sky Sports.
‘In play’ interviews with Sky’s Tim Barter have become a feature of the coverage over the past few years and have passed largely without incident.
Until today, that is.
G-Mac’s interview left him 50 yards behind his playing partners for his second shot… prompting a rules official to drive up in his buggy and give the Northern Irishman a warning.
Under the terms of the tour’s new slow play policy, that bad time will now follow McDowell for the rest of the event and could potential cost him a shot.
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How unfair is this? @Graeme_McDowell got a bad time because Tim Barter was interviewing him for @SkySportsGolf and left him 50 yards behind. Surely a bit of common sense between the @EuropeanTour and host broadcaster should prevail?— Donal Doc GolfCentralDaily (@GolfCentralDoc) January 31, 2020
After signing for a two-under 68 that leaves him on eight-under-par at the halfway stage – just two off the lead held by Victor Perez – McDowell explained what happened when he wrapped up his interview with Barter.
“When I got up there, I was first to go and I had 215 yards into the wind and it was a difficult shot,” explained G-Mac.
“I’d have called a time out if that had been something that was automatic in my brain but it’s the last thing I think of out there.
“I called a time out after I hit the shot but the referee was not really willing to give me any kind of room for error at all. That kind of upset my rhythm for a couple of holes but, hey, we’ve got to play faster. Slow golf doesn’t help the viewer, it doesn’t help the club golfer at the weekend and, yeah, we’ve just got to play faster.”