Pros advice

Colin Montgomerie wants penalties imposed for slow play

Colin Montgomerie took time out of preparing for this week’s European Senior Tour’s season-ending event to weigh in on the argument over how to punish players who take too long on the golf course.

Monty is backing the call for officials to impose shot penalties rather than money for slow play, and believes the current system of issuing fines is a “joke” and simply doesn’t work. He also called on officials to start being “proactive rather than reactive” in a bid to improve the pace of play.

The slow play issue was a hot topic a fortnight ago in a two-day conference at St Andrews and Monty firmly backs the R&A and its mission statement to stamp out slow players halting the flowing rhythm of play.

“It is one of the issues why we, in the western world, are not playing as much golf,” the 52-year-old explained. “People want to do different things with their leisure time and there is more availability in that respect these days.

“Golf has suffered due to the time it now takes to play and I feel the only way to deal with it properly is by being proactive, not reactive to a situation. By that, I mean we shouldn’t have to wait for a group to be out of position before we try and make that position better.

“We should be proactive and especially in majors, where there’s a referee with every group, players should be on the clock from the word go. The first group should then play in the same time as the last group. They’d all get round in 4hrs 15mins or the allotted time to play because that’s what has been planned out.

“At the moment, we have to wait until there’s a situation before that group is warned and that’s not right, no, as we all suffer. Sponsors suffer, TV suffer and the general public, too, as they want to see action.”

During the St Andrews meeting it was revealed that 24 golfers had incurred penalty shots on the European Tour since 1998 – but only one player on the PGA Tour has actually been penalised in a regular event over the past 20 years.

“The deterrent isn’t strong enough, there’s no question,” added Montgomerie. “The fines are a joke as people just take them and move on.

“I believe the last person to get fined a shot penalty on the PGA Tour was Glen Day, who we called All Day. That was in 1995, which is just unbelievable. No-one has been penalised a shot since then.

“I get on with it and it is wrong that the pace of play is generated by the slowest player and not the quickest one – that is not right.”

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