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Saturday, February 2, 2013
USGA upset by slow play

ESPN.com news services

The United States Golf Association announced Saturday that the governing body will focus its efforts on combating slow play by turning its resources this year toward ending what's considered by many as a major threat to the game in modern times.

At its annual meeting in San Diego, USGA president Glen D. Nager outlined a five-prong approach with the goal of speeding up play at both the professional and amateur levels.

"The cry that pace of play has become one of the most significant threats to the game's health has become only louder over the last year," Nager said in a statement. "Industry research clearly shows that slow play and the amount of time it takes to play a round of golf detract from the overall experience and threaten to drive players away from the game. This problem touches every golfer, from the professional to the elite amateur to the collegiate player to the millions of recreational golfers at both public and private facilities."

The plan includes: Analyzing key factors known to influence pace of play, developing a pace-of-play model based on quantifiable data, improvements to the USGA pace rating system, on-site assistance at golf courses to help assess and improve pace of play and creating player education programs.

Just last week on the PGA Tour, a Monday finish due to fog took the final group nearly three hours to complete just 11 holes.

USGA executive director Mike Davis also weighed in on the issue.

"It is appropriate for the USGA to examine pace of play issues in part because we experience them at our own championships," Davis said in a statement. "Six-hour rounds are just not good for the players, our championships or the game. Slow play is also incompatible with our modern society, in which our personal time for recreation is compressed. This is an issue that demands our complete attention."