If you play the sport...
If you hack and slash and mutter your way through 18 holes from time to time, you probably have a favorite golfer.
Today’s message is for everyone, but particularly those of you who fancy the young and charismatic Bryson DeChambeau.
The five-time winner is unquestionably one of the coming stars on the PGA Tour, but he needs someone to give him a piece of advice about how he approaches each shot.
What Bryson needs to hear is simple...
“HIT THE DAMN BALL!”
Fellow pros are normally very forgiving about their competitors’ little quirks.
If it’s some irritating move, like Sergio Garcia waggling his club a couple dozen times before starting his backswing, players in the same group just look away.
But there’s no escaping a slow, slow player – and DeChambeau is taking leisure to a new level.
He was a physics major in college, so DeChambeau claims he needs time to factor analytics (even air density) into each shot.
A COUPLE of weeks ago at the Northern Trust tournament, DeChambeau took two and a half minutes to stroke a dead-straight 8-foot putt – and missed.
LPGA player Christina Kim tweeted that as a physics expert, DeChambeau should have known that in all the time he studied that putt, the Earth had moved slightly on its axis and changed the gravitational pull on the ball.
Yes, she was poking fun at him.
DeChambeau also walked all the way to the green and back (so slowly he risked paralysis) before addressing a 70-yard wedge shot.
Playing partner Justin Thomas looked so bored that you half-expected him to lie down for a wee nap.
All of Bryson’s antics have angered Brooks Koepka, who ranks No. 1 in the world and is known for wanting to get around at a fairly brisk pace.
Koepka is one of several Tour members who have roasted DeChambeau on social media.
In particular, Koepka suggested the Tour should enforce its own rules – especially when its time limits are being abused.
Koepka pointed out that Tour players are allowed 40 seconds to take a shot once they’re in position to hit, and that when someone goes over that time constantly, perhaps a penalty should be in order.
Slow play is an issue at every level of golf.
Even big-name stars have been guilty, including two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer.
After a round in which Langer was paired with Lee Trevino at the 1993 U.S. Open, Trevino was asked about the pace of play and said: “(Langer) has a nice full beard. When we teed off, he was clean-shaven.”
A CRUCIAL problem with slow play on the Tour is that most amateur players – right down to 22-handicappers at your local municipal course – tend to imitate the pros in every way possible.
If some successful Tour player points his club at the target before addressing the ball, whole mobs of weekenders will try it.
Which would be fine if they just kept moving.
I lived in Scotland for a few years, and if a player dawdled endlessly before a shot over there, some bloke might crack him on the foot with a 7-iron.
I’m kidding about the physical violence, but Scots will indeed insult you for standing too long over a shot. They want to get on with things, and they’re right.
They invented the sport, after all.
SERIOUSLY, almost everyone plays better golf if there is a nice pace to the round.
On the other hand, it’s maddening to wait forever as Joe Shank prepares to top a ball into the water – or worse, standing around all day as the group in front of you studies and measures putts as though it’s No. 18 at Augusta.
The result of all this nonsense is that 5 1/2-hour rounds have become common.
That’s just way, way too long to play 18 holes of golf.
Besides not making it home for dinner, you can’t possibly play as well going that slowly.
Here’s a rule to follow...
Find your ball, pick a club, line up the target and hit the thing.
You’ll be surprised at how much more fun you have.
And you might like those lower numbers on your card, too.
Just hit it.
Steve Cameron’s “Cheap Seats” columns for The Press appear on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Steve also contributes the “Zags Tracker” package on Gonzaga basketball once monthly during the offseason.