J B Holmes wins the Genesis Open at Riviera

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There were a lot of positives about JB Holmes win yesterday at the Genesis Open. How he ground out his victory in gruesome conditions with 35 mph winds, having to play 33 holes in the final round after repeated weather delays and nearly every day of the tournament was finished in darkness. It was battling golf.  He overcame his friend Justin Thomas’ lead to win by one shot, his first victory since 2015. But most impressive was his putting – he lead the field in strokes gained putting, a huge transformation from last season when he was as high as 202nd in this category. He played the par 3s particularly well this week. Whatever he’s found, he needs to keep doing it.

He has, however, taken a hammering on social media for his lengthy pre shot routine, particularly on the greens. And this routine only began when it was his turn to play rather than when his playing partners – Thomas and Adam Scott – were ready to play their shots. This lead to their front 9 holes taking an incredible 2 hours 45 minutes, and the extended final round 5 hours 29 minutes.

When asked about it Holmes just shrugged and said “it is what it is. I never got put on the clock or got a warning”.

It is the PGA Tour’s responsibility to control slow play, and if they don’t then they should take the brickbats. They need to sanction not with fines but by deducting strokes from the card, It is the only way. In this case Holmes’ group were left alone. It’s time for officials at every professional tournament to be vigilant and enforce sanctions. And if playing partners don’t like it they should do some sit down protests like Brian Barnes used to do.

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This week saw Rory McIlroy finish badly with a missed birdie on 17 and a bogey on 18 in the final round but it was his third straight top 5 finish. Tournament host Tiger Woods is also playing consistently, having his 7th top 15 finish this season.

 

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