As golf’s latest slow play saga rumbles on, world No.4 Justin Thomas came out in staunch defence of J.B. Holmes by saying he would have done the exact same in that position.
Holmes was roundly criticised for taking four minutes and ten seconds to play his second shot to the par-5 18th at the Farmers Insurance Open, where he needed an eagle to get into a play-off.
The American subsequently laid up, prompting anger and, ahead of this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, said he’s been ‘shocked’ by the reaction to the incident.
While fellow pros were among those to criticise Holmes on social media on Sunday, one who didn’t see an issue with the play was Thomas.
“I have J.B.’s back all day on that situation,” he said. “If you put me on the 18th 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.”
He continued: “So he’s debating what to do, what to not do. I get it, four minutes and ten seconds is a long time, but nobody behind him, last hole, you need a three to win the golf tournament [Holmes actually needed a three to get into the play-off], you need to take as long as you can.”
Naturally, Thomas’ defence of an issue that many amateurs see as a reason why golf numbers are dwindling did not sit well among users on Twitter.
I appreciate you sticking up for @JBHolmesgolf but not here. He was wrong and needs to admit it. I wouldn't suggest trying it yourself.— Doug Hoffmann (@MGAPGAPRO) February 1, 2018
@JustinThomas34 backing players who play golf painfully slow will not win you any more fans. Maybe that isn’t what you want or need is more fans. I on the other hand need to be able to play a round a golf in 4 hrs. Stop making it ok for it to take longer.— Rob Longstreth (@RobLongstreth) February 1, 2018
Slow play is such a big issue now in golf as numbers of members continue to dwindle. As a professional and role model, JB was out of line and I can’t think why JT has come out in support. Stick to golf !— Tony Flanagan (@3_putt_flan) February 1, 2018
I get this take given the way the tour rules are (& currently enforced). It was a big shot, big moment. I like JB and want him to do well. Big opportunities can be rare. But the accumulation of excess time-taking incidents doesn't reflect well on the pro game as a whole.— Kev M (@BogeyInTheDark) February 1, 2018
@JustinThomas34 Sorry to disagree but JB's 4:10 is unacceptable. I don't care how much money you're playing for, you're checks are ultimately paid by the fans/viewers and I'm sure that I'm not the only one who's losing patience. #SLOWPLAY— Mike Breen (@breenmij) February 1, 2018