Hunter Mahan said Thursday that he supports stroke penalties on players for slow play because fines have not been effective.
Pace of play is a constant source of hand-wringing on the PGA Tour, but the problem was pushed into the spotlight during the Monday final round at the Farmers Insurance Open two weeks ago when, due to the glacial pace in front of them, it took winner Tiger Woods' group almost four hours to play 11 holes. (Robert Garrigus played in the morning at Torrey, flew to Phoenix, checked into his hotel, and turned on the TV to watch the end of Tiger's round.)
Mahan, who had four holes to finish at Torrey that morning, said Thursday that players have the ultimate responsibility to pick up the pace at PGA Tour events.
HUNTER MAHAN: I think we would all like to play faster. The pace would be ‑‑ the game would be sort of better if the pace was faster and guys were not standing on tees and just waiting for someone to go play; it doesn't look good when the last group is just standing there with two other groups and waiting on a par 3 or something ridiculous. There's no reason to stop there.
But it comes down to the players. It comes down to all of us making an effort to play faster. It's not a hundred guys playing slow; it's a few guys, and you know, I know that I don't want to be one of those guys. I want to play fast. I want to be ready to go every time it's my shot. There's a handful of guys, and unless those guys make a change, it's just going to be slow. It's a very slight thing that's going to bog everyone down. But it's going to come down to the players making decisions or changing the rules to make the rules for strict and have a heavy penalty.
Q. Do you think the TOUR could be more stringent in its policing of it?
HUNTER MAHAN: There's plenty of things that could be done. You're going to have to I think start giving guys shots because shots will affect the rounds a lot easier. Fines, ten, 15, it doesn't mean much. In the long term, it doesn't matter. Obviously that has not worked. So I think if you start popping shots for guys, they are going to start moving. But honestly it doesn't start on the first tee or the 12th tee; you should be here at this time. Like I said, it the players responsibility.
Q. Does it surprise you sometimes how long it takes some guys, just in watching their routine?
HUNTER MAHAN: What's frustrating is guys when it's their turn, they are the second or third guy and they are not ready to go. That's frustrating to me. There's no reason for that. If you're the last guy, it should take you ten seconds to hit, it shouldn't take you 50 seconds to hit. Even if allotted a certain amount of time, if you're the third guy to go, there shouldn't be much thought. Q. In this economic era, what would get guys's attention more, 5,000 bucks or 20 FedExCup points? HUNTER MAHAN: I guess FedExCup points. The 5,000 or ten or whatever however it works, it doesn't mean much in the long run. It's not going to make an impact.
But shots in the final round of a tournament, and say, hey, give me two, you guys have to go, you have to be here, it's two shots, that's going to get them moving in a hurry. FedExCup points, that could be huge in the end trying to make it from 125 to 100, that could be very big. Like you said, you'd have to figure out the points and stuff. But 5,000 doesn't obviously make much of an impact, that's for sure.
Photo: Hunter Mahan in the first round of the AT&T National Pebble Beach Pro-Am (Getty Images).