The Masters final round was essentially uneventful with Jon Rahm putting away the competition and winning by 4 strokes. The main storylines for the tournament, other than Rahm's win, was Brooks Koepka blowing a big lead, Tiger having to withdraw , tree safety, Fred Couples making the cut, and Phil Mickelson turning back the clock to finish tied for 2nd. We thought we would have a classic of Brooks and Rahm going head to head for 27 holes but that wasn't the case. As you know in sports, when one storyline disappears we need another in it's place. Fans will not sit quietly without anything to talk about. That was the case Sunday as Patrick Cantlay's tragically slow play became the thing everyone was talking about.
I will never fancy myself as a golf expert, nor an excellent golfer. If I break 100 it's a good day (although I am a great scramble 4th). However, I was lucky enough to be taught the etiquette of the game at a young age, and know how to play with people and not ruin their round. For example, when I chip 15 yards from 50 out on my 7th shot on a Par 4 and know I will be three putting anyway… I simply just pick it up so people on the green can putt without waiting. What difference does it make if I shoot a 106 or a 103 especially when there is absolutely nothing on the line. You don't walk in people's lines, you try to get visuals on balls with land markers, move it along etc etc. I'm grateful for learning those things because I've played with, and seen people who have no etiquette on the golf course and it sucks.
Which brings us to Patrick Cantlay and his slow play. SLOW PLAY IS THE WORSTTTTTTTT . I can't stress that enough. As a guy on local courses alone, if you are paired with a 4th or a 3rd and 4th in your group who are analyzing every shot 12 times, or looks for a ball for 10 minutes your skin begins to crawl. You know the people behind you are getting antsy, you know you are holding up groups, and worst of all you know it's not your fault but people are still motherfucking you under their breath. I have begged starters to not play with people I have seen before who are slow, I've skipped holes to get ahead of a slow group. Slow play is BAD. Ruins the day, ruins the rhythm. The Worst.
Now on the flip side, people who hit up on you are just as bad. I'm here to tell a little story about that.
It was last summer, late in the season and my brother and I were lucky enough to get a 1pm tee time on a Sunday in August. As expected the course was pretty crowded for a municipal course and a Summer Sunday. You teed off when the group in front left the fairway, and then had to hit into the green when they got off. It was a lot of standing over shots. That's expected. I wouldn't say it was a slow round, nor that any one person or group was the problem it was just how it goes on the course somedays. We were also a 2 and hitting behind a group of 4 so naturally we would be waiting behind them. Again, it was still moving at a solid pace for a 4.5 to 5 hour round, without any real hiccups (until the 12th hole that is).
The 12th was a Par 4 with some hills in the fairway off to the right. The group in front of us had literally just arrived on the green when we teed off. I hit an unmemorable drive somewhere to the middle left in play. My brother (who's play to a 4-5 handicap) hits a bomb into those hills. Again, 10000000% in play but in those little hills which if you have every played golf knows you have to look a little bit to find. So we drove up, got out of the cart started circling around the hills to see exactly where the ball was. We looked for about 2 minutes , just then the group on the green was finishing their putts. Not a minute later do we hear and see a ball whizzing by our head. These morons behind us hit up on us. Now there's so many problems with this. 1- The group in front of us had just left the green so we couldn't' possibly have hit our balls yet. 2- the fact that none of these morons realized there was a group of 2 in front of them all day and maybe wait to confirm where they were before hitting and finally 3- no one. I mean no one yelled FORE.
It was my brother's local course so I deferred to him on how angry he wanted to get. Before I could say a word, he was screaming back to them "There's no where to go ! " . Meaning, the group in front of us just left and even if we holed out our 2nd shots from there, we would STILL be waiting on the next tee box behind them given how packed the course was. I wanted to take their ball, my brother had the idea cooler heads would prevail and that they for sure would apologize.
We finished on 16 and walked to the tee box of 17 as they pulled up. This was their opportunity to make things right. Not a word. So we asked, "Hey guys … nothing back on 12 when you hit up on us.. no warning no Fore ? "
Them : "I didn't know I was going to hit it that far."
My brother : " Yeah that happens, but when you did … you gotta yell."
Them : "Yeah but I didn't know I'd hit it that far"
My brother : " Again, but you didn't say a word, and even now you wouldn't have said anything if we didn't bring it up, no apology nothing."
Me : "You realize we've been standing over shots all day, even if we moved a few seconds faster we'd just be backed up on the next hole. That's kind of how it goes on a local course on a Sunday."
Them : "What do you mean standing over shots ? "
My brother to me: "Just forget it let's go."
I was actually baffled that this moron had never heard the term standing over shots, or that his tiny brain couldn't do the math of computing that it meant waiting for groups in front of you to finish. I think that part bothered me the most. Like I was speaking a foreign language for a pretty common lingo in golf. I did drive me insane that they didn't apologize (as well as pulling up and putting his feet up on the cart without a care in the world.) I'm not really looking to get in a screaming match on 17 so I had to eat it … for about 10 minutes.
We teed off on 17 (a par 3), drove up putted out … both looked at each other with the same thought . That flagstick we were supposed to put back … we just left it. Fuck em … you want to be assholes so can we. Now was this a shit move, yes for sure, but it was a retaliation move for a shitty move done by them, which in our minds (and I think most of the golfing world) was justified.
I guess the moral of this story is this. Slow play sucks, hitting up on people sucks, but if you are going to go out on the golf course for 18 realize it's not just your time, round or enjoyment on the line and be conscious that you should keep the time, and enjoyment of others in mind while playing.
Hit em straight …