Slow Play outed at the Portugal Masters

Good work by Bernie Macguire on golfbytourmiss who brought the story of an interview with Alvaro Quieros which had to be pulled by Sky Sports. While Andy Sullivan was on his way to a dominant wire to wire victory on the Oceanico Course in Vilamora, it was the Spanish player who was bringing the drama to the week.

On the 12 th tee of the second round Quieros called for Chief Referee Andy McFee to attend because his own attempts to encourage playing partner Gary Stal to play quicker had been met by silence. By this time Quieros was very agitated and Thomas Bjorn, Chairman of the Players Committee who was playing in the group behind stepped in. Stal, who won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship earlier this year, apparently started to play quicker when the referee was called. Quieros called the pace of play appalling. In the interview with Sky Sports which was not screened he called Stal “a cheater” and in colourful language expressed his discontent with the whole issue of slow play.

Andy McFee has said that this is an issue which he had been trying to work out a plan to resolve for the past thirty years.

Well if the Tour officials cannot work out what to do then erruptions of this kind by frustrated players are the inevitable consequence. The word “cheater”, while controversial, does draw attention to the grey, psychological area of whether slow play is gamesmanship. On a professional level while it is bad for the tour for individual players to have slow play vendettas going on, perhaps naming and shaming individual players is the only way to go. European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke has spoken in favour of Quieros’ actions saying “slow play is something we need to work really hard to stamp out and the sooner we get on top of it the better. One slow chap can make a big difference to everyone else’s score”. That said, what is the solution. It’s such a tricky area because if a slow player is penalised too harshly by the tour then the tour are putting a restraint of trade on the player.

It’s comes down to the roots of golf. Integrity, fairness and respect for opponents. Tour tortoises should be put on the spot by the tour. Andy McFee promised to “have a word”.

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