Rory McIlroy has proven a willingness to share what’s on his mind, and this week it’s the pace of play at the Players Championship. McIlroy called it “unacceptable.”
Despite holding a share of the lead after 36 holes at TPC Sawgrass, McIlroy sounded off about pace of play toward the end of his press conference Friday evening.
“They don’t do anything about it,” McIlroy said. “It’s become somewhat of an epidemic on Tour…the fact that someone didn’t finish yesterday, just being through daylight savings and the tee times and someone had to come out today because there wasn’t enough light to finish, I mean, that’s unacceptable.”
McIlroy is alluding to Anirban Lahiri not being able to finish his first round before darkness took over Thursday evening. Lahiri was the only player who did not finish, but had the afternoon rounds been just a bit faster, he would have. All he had left was a 4-foot putt.
“I get that it can take five hours to play out there, but it shouldn’t take any over that,” McIlroy continued. “Honestly, I think they should just be a little tougher and start penalizing shots earlier, and that would be an easy way to fix it.”
The “players should be penalized” mentality is not a new one, but it seems to be gaining momentum among some of the top players in the game. Recall that Brooks Koepka said something very similar, using slightly more critical verbiage, just one month ago.
When will complaints about slow play end? It’s hard to imagine sweeping changes to the pace of play landscape will come from the players themselves, given 100% of players polled in a survey think their pace is acceptable.