Brian Harman is one of the faster players on the PGA Tour, and while he doesn’t have a solution for improving the pace, he has noticed how unfairly it punishes players in the first few groups of the weekday rounds. Those are the groups more likely to be timed because after a while, the course bogs down.
His first two years on tour, Harman was in what he called the “rookie category,” meaning he was in the final groups of each draw. He said his groups were put on the clock two times all season.
“The next year, I was in the first three groups and I was put on the clock six times,” he said. “And I was the 12th-fastest guy based on ShotLink data. They sent me a letter saying, ‘See what you can do to help out.’ I sent them one back and said, ‘What do I do? I’m your 12th-fastest player.'”
Harman won the 2014 John Deere Classic and was moved into the “winner’s category,” which is in the middle of the pack. Harman said his group was put on the clock once in 2.5 years.
“I’m back into the first three groups,” he said. “I’ve already been timed five times this year.”
Being put on the clock can be costly. If a player is put on the clock 10 times in a season, he is fined $20,000 even if he’s not the one holding up play.