For the second time in a little over a year, the spotlight fell on J.B. Holmes’ slow play as he worked his way into contention, then won, the Genesis Open.
Playing in the final group at Riviera alongside Justin Thomas and Adam Scott, the three-ball’s round took five hours and 29 minutes to complete as Holmes overhauled a four-shot deficit heading into the final round to claim his fifth PGA Tour title.
Conditions were tough, with winds of 25-30mph throughout the final round, but the final group found itself a full hole behind the group in front of them for nearly the entire round.
However, they were never put on the clock, or so much as warned to pick up the pace.
Many took to social media to convey their ire at what they were being subjected to.
Thoughts? pic.twitter.com/ZUrqTMb6M3— George Savaricas (@GeorgeSavaricas) February 17, 2019
Slow play in golf is disrespectful & unfair to the rest of the field ... there’s got to be a better way to monitor & enforce these situations— Zac Blair (@z_blair) February 17, 2019
On the US broadcast, commentators also began to lose patience with the American.
Regarding the putt shown in the clip above, Jim Nantz said: “Here is J.B. Holmes, going through all the maps and scales and typography data that he can find.
On-course reporter Peter Kostis added: “The issue I have with that is not that he’s doing that, it’s that he had plenty of time to do that while Justin was getting ready for his shot or Adam was getting ready for his shot, yet he waited until it was his turn to play to go through his whole routine.”
After closing out the victory, though, Holmes offered a staunch defence of his glacial pace of play.
“Well, you play in 25-mile-an-hour gusty winds and see how fast you play when you're playing for the kind of money and the points and everything that we're playing for,” he said.
“I was never even close to being on the clock all week. When I first got out here [on tour], I was really slow, but I've sped up quite a bit. Like I said, the conditions made it
tougher, too. Sometimes you're waiting for the wind to stop blowing 30 miles an hour.
“There's times when I'm probably too slow, but it is what it is. I was never on the clock. I never even got a warning.”
It was perhaps ironic that, after he had slated the PGA Tour’s slow play policy earlier in the week, that Adam Scott was in the midst of the latest slow play furore in playing alongside Holmes.
He shot a five-over-par 76 in the final round but admitted it was his poor performance, rather than Holmes’ pace of play, that resulted in his disappointing final round – but did take another shot at the PGA Tour.
“We know he's generally a slow player,” said the Aussie. “When you get conditions like this, everyone turns into a slow player. It's hard to tell you how extreme it is.
“Putting in these conditions on greens of this speed that aren't completely smooth at the end of 36 holes, it's very difficult.
“My thing on slow play is it's never going to change. I think it's just get over it. Until television and sponsors say no more money, slow play ain't going to change.”
Justin Thomas, who posted a four-over-par 75 to finish one shot behind Holmes, added: “It was slow. Nothing against our group, it was slow. There’s a difference between slow golf and bad golf, and Adam and I just weren't playing good golf so that's hard to keep the pace up. But yeah, it was definitely kind of hard to keep going when you felt like you were waiting a lot.”
J.B. Holmes' pace of play :: Your thoughts
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