The pace of play is a joke as rounds extend over 6 hours

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – With apologies for the USGA’s section qualifier for the US Open, the longest golf day this year was the opening round of British Open at The Old Course.

“It’s just a joke, isn’t it?” said reigning US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick in his round along with Tiger Woods and Max Homa, who clocked in at 6 hours and 10 minutes. “This should just never happen in golf.”

Fitzpatrick managed it, but he also admitted that there was little to do about it, given that with modern equipment, seven of the par-4 holes can be run, and conditions made pretty much everyone wait for the tee to swing after the fence. , often do not even need a club under headgear.

“This is the way the golf course is decorated. That’s how solid it is. The way the golf course is designed. You cross a lot, and to get better angles and better lines, you have to turn across all the fairways, ”Fitzpatrick explained. “Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s just sadder than anything else. It’s just ridiculous.”

The morning wave turned for comparison in brisk 5 hours and 30 minutes. In the afternoon there were some strange moments, such as waving Tiger’s group up to tee out on par-5 14th.

“Wait for the tee for a while and then they said we would hit them and they let us drive so we hit our drive,” Homa said. “When we then got up there, we waited 20 minutes for them to hit, which meant we had to wait another 20 after that before we hit. It was very bizarre.”

Not just bizarre, but the snail’s pace prevented players from finding any rhythm.

“I felt like everything was choppy,” Homa said. “It was just insanely much to wait.”

The traffic jams got so bad that Homa’s group actually gave a favor and waved the group of Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Harold Varner III up to Did they really save time at that point? But this also happened on several other holes, including the fifth, seventh, ninth and In fairness, conditions bordered on extremes, or as world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler called them, “insane fasts.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life,” said Scheffler, who still managed to shoot 68.

Rory McIlroy was the most diplomatic when asked about the stop-start character of the round.

“I think St. Andrews is that way,” he said. “There is a lot to cross and wait for other greens and wait for greens to clear because the drivable par-4s.

So I think, especially the first two days where it is fully fielded, that it can be expected. That’s what it is. Luckily, it picks up speed over the weekend and two balls and it gets a little more moving. But I think when you play this tournament, you expect it to be like that for the first few days. “

McIlroy, who waited 20 minutes on the fifth tee, sounded like a man in a state of bliss after shooting a 66. The old tiger-ism ‘It is what it is’ sounds hollow in this case; that’s what it should not be. It only gets dark here after 10am and there is no reason why daylight should be an issue. Still, players in gloaming still finished in front of abandoned stands.

Six hours plus rounds? It is both insane and sad, and it needs to be corrected.

As Fitzpatrick put it, it should never happen in golf.

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