Cantlay: It Was Slow For Everyone

Everyone has an opinion on slow play and how to solve it and the simple facts are that the final rounds of The Masters took a shade under five hours. This was for twoballs where you would expect things to speed up significantly but there are other factors to take into account.

Aside from the conditions – the week was interrupted by large amounts of rain – it’s Sunday at The Masters on a course where the winds swirl and the greens are some of the slopiest on the planet. One unexpected gust and your ball could end up wet and your hopes dashed and the players have waited eight months to try and win a major.

In the middle of all this was Patrick Cantlay who was in the penultimate group with Viktor Hovland. The American is renowned as one of the most ‘deliberate’ players in the game and he was the one to get the most flak.

Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm spent most of their Sunday watching Cantlay and Hovland and Koepka remarked afterwards that things were painfully slow.     

“The group in front was brutally slow. Jon (Rahm) went to the bathroom like seven times during the round and we were still waiting,” Koepka explained.

Then there was a video of Hovland chipping on to the 13th green, from behind it, while Cantlay was still on the other side of Rae’s Creek.

Cue outrage, all of it in Cantlay’s direction, and while much of this was most likely justified, Cantlay is glacial at best, there were other factors to consider. First of all he was playing behind Hideki Matsuyama and Russell Henley and they were behind Sam Bennett and Collin Morikawa. For all of Bennett’s amateur heroics there was talk even before last week that he was far from quick while Matsuyama is also notably slow.

Cantlay, a former member of the Players Advisory Council (PAC), is playing this week at Hilton Head and he had this to say which should take at least some of the heat off him.

“We finished the 1st hole and the group in front of us was on the 2nd tee when we walked up to the tee and we waited all day on pretty much every shot. We waited in 15 fairway, we waited in 18 fairway. I imagine it was slow for everyone,” Cantlay said.

“One thing that's interesting sitting on the PAC is you get all the numbers and the data, and rounds have taken about the same length of time for the last 10 or 20 years that they currently take,” Cantlay added. “When you play a golf course like Augusta National, where all the hole locations are on lots of slope and the greens are really fast, it's just going to take longer and longer to hole out.

“I think that may have been what attributed to some of the slow play on Sunday, and then also, when the wind is gusting and the wind is blowing maybe inconsistently, that's when guys will take a long time, too. That's just the nature of playing professional golf, where every shot matters so much.”

Needless to say Cantlay is rightfully named and shamed when it comes to slow play but, on this occasion, he does have a point. And the chances of anyone (unless you're a 14-year-old) getting penalised are minimal but at least it seems to be on people's radar again.