Glen Day the last player with a penalty stroke

It turns out that Glen Day – not Dillard Pruitt – was the last

player penalized a stroke for slow play on the PGA Tour.

Pace of play became an issue last week at The Players

Championship when Kevin Na’s group was put on the clock in the

third and fourth rounds. Na already has a reputation for slow play,

and drew even more attention to himself for practice swings,

waggles and even purposely whiffing so he can start over.

PGA Tour rules officials said four years ago that Pruitt was the

last player to receive a one-stroke penalty on tour in the 1992

Byron Nelson Classic. Pruitt, now a rules official, recalls being

fined $9,600 along with the penalty shot.

Day, however, was penalized one shot after the third round of

the 1995 Honda Classic.

According to an Associated Press story from that Honda Classic,

it took more than four hours to complete the third round at Weston

Hills, and 54-hole leader Mark O’Meara complained about having to

wait on every shot. Day had to change his score from a 71 to a 72

for pace-of-play violations.

So instead of being 20 years since a player was penalized a

stroke for slow play on the PGA Tour, it has been only 17

years.

Major championships are run separately. The PGA of America

assessed a one-shot penalty to Steve Lowery in the first round of

the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, while the USGA

penalized Edward Fryatt in the second round of the 1997 U.S. Open

at Congressional.

Players have been harping about pace of play all year. Luke

Donald tweeted in January while watching the Tournament of

Champions on TV that ”slow play is killing our sport.” Tiger

Woods, who wrote about slow play on his website in 2008, was asked

what kind of progress golf made in four years.

”Worse,” he said.

According to PGA Tour policy, players are put on the clock when

they are deemed to be out of position. If they go over the allotted

time – 60 seconds for the first player to hit his shot, 40 seconds

for the next players in the group – they receive a warning the

first time, and a one-shot penalty for the second bad time.

Players are deemed out of position when a par-3 hole is open, or

they haven’t played from the tee before the hole is open.

Thursday and Friday rounds routinely are longer than five hours

when the fields are large (156 players in summer tournaments). PGA

Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said last week that while the tour

would like to see a better pace, he would rather see more players

have a chance to compete than have smaller fields to help speed

things along.

”We’ll generate the playing opportunities first, and take our

lumps second,” he said. ”It’s as simple as that.”