USGA begins plan to address slow play
The While We’re Young campaign is part of a programme launched earlier this year by the USGA in partnership with golf industry leaders, allied organizations, media partners and golf course managers in a bid to resolve the pace-of-play issue.
“Pace of play has been an issue for decades, but it’s now become one of the most significant threats to the health of the game,” USGA President Glen D. Nager told reporters on the eve of the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club.
According to Nager, more than 70 percent of golfers felt that pace of play had become a bigger problem in recent years and more than 50 percent admitted to walking off the golf course due to frustration over the length of rounds.
Borrowing the iconic While We’re Young line from the character played by American actor Rodney Dangerfield in the 1980 film Caddyshack, the campaign takes a lighthearted approach to encourage golfers to improve pace of play.
“Pace of play is a big issue. Rounds of golf take too long and no one enjoys it,” the 14-time major winner said in a statement.
At one point eight strokes in front of the chasing pack on a breezy day, Woods dropped four shots over his last five holes as he and his playing partners had to wait on virtually every tee before they could proceed.
Nager said the pace-of-play policy had been changed for this week’s U.S. Open with every golfer in a group required to have a ball in play off the tee on a par-four or par-five hole before the group ahead had left the green.
“This year every player in the group has to have a ball in play before that group in front of them is off the green or they will be considered out of position,” Nager said.