PGA Tour Exploring Changes to Pace-of-Play Policy Amid DeChambeau Fallout
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Sometimes the voices calling for change are simply too loud to ignore.
Amid a season-long controversy that escalated this week when two videos showed Bryson DeChambeau taking two-plus minutes to hit shots, the PGA Tour said it would explore changes to its pace of play policy.
"The Tour's current pace-of-play policy only addresses players whose groups have fallen out of position," the Tour said in a statement. "The Tour is now exploring whether to expand its policy to also address players whose groups are in position, but who take an excessive amount of time to hit a shot."
The on-course aciton at this week's Northern Trust, the first of three FedEx Cup playoff events, has been largely overshadowed by fiery discussion over slow play on Tour. On Friday, video surfaced showing DeChambeau taking more than two minutes to hit a 70-yard pitch shot.
Another showed DeChambeau taking more than two minutes to hit a simple five-foot putt. Justin Thomas can be seen in the background checking his imaginary watch.
The videos drew drawback from fans on social media and, more notably, a number of current and former players. European Tour player Eddie Pepperell called DeChambeau a "single-minded twit" in a response to the video on Twitter.
DeChambeau defended himself after Saturday's round, immediately launching into an impassioned explanation of why he believes he is being unfairly singled out.
"When people start talking to me about slow play and how I'm killing the game, I'm doing this and that to the game, that is complete and utter you-know-what. That's not fair."
DeChambeau had a conversation on the putting green Sunday with Brooks Koepka, who has emerged as something of a zealot in the anti-slow play movement. Both players said the conversation was civil and positive, with DeChambeau saying he gained a "new level of respect" for the world No. 1 after they hashed things out face-to-face.
The current pace-of-play guidelines provide a player 40 to 50 seconds to execute a shot, depending on multiple factors including order of play. But those times only come into question if a group has fallen out of position and has been put "on the clock"—if the group is in position, players are not timed. Once a group is on the clock, the first "bad time"—meaning a player takes more than their allotted time—results in a warning. The second bad time, at least in theory, results in a one-stroke penalty.
The PGA Tour has handed out just one slow-play penalty in the past 24 years, though the Tour does fine players behind closed doors for repeated pace-of-play infractions.
The Tour also said Saturday that it would employ its Shotlink technology to provide players a pace-of-play report to help them understand why they might play slower in certain situations.