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Slow play golf's 'biggest bugbear'

ESPN staff
July 25, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Graeme McDowell's caddie Ken Comboy is obviously not a fan of slow play © Getty Images
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Colin Montgomerie insists that golf's governing bodies need to introduce a shot clock to tournaments if the problem of slow play is to be solved.

Describing the issue as the "biggest bugbear in golf", Montgomerie has called for players to be put on the clock from the moment they step onto the first tee.

At last week's Open Championship at Muirfield, 19-year-old Japanese player Hideki Matsuyama received a one-shot penalty in his third round after being warned for a second time on the 17th hole.

Guan Tianlang, at 14 the youngest-ever player at the Masters, was also docked a shot in the second round at Augusta in April for slow play.

However there has yet to be a similar punishment given to a high-profile player on any major Tour, though Montgomerie believes the time for that to change is now.

"What I would love to see, as a fast player knowing it would never happen to me, would be for one of the top players to have that shot penalty," Montgomerie said.

"Then it would really resonate throughout the rest of the field. If only one of them was finally found out because they are still taking too long.

"They should be playing in no more than four hours for any round of golf on any course.

"Unfortunately they are given far too long. Why do you have to wait to be slow before you are put on the clock?

"There are 52 referees out there at major championships and they should all have a clock should be able to put them on the clock on the first tee to ensure they all get around in time.

"It has been mentioned about a shot clock and that is interesting: there should be an allotted time to play the game, like chess were you have a certain time to play.

"If the first two groups take five or more hours to go round then the day is gone, you can't make it up. But if that first group takes four hours and five minutes then you have a chance.

"The biggest bugbear in golf is slow play."

Montgomerie is looking to build on a decent start to his senior career when he makes his debut in the Senior Open at Royal Birkdale. He finished tied ninth in the Senior Players Championship and tied 30th in the US Senior Open.

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