Stacy Lewis' five-point plan for slow play

It's not often that a golfer points the finger at her playing partners when it comes to slow play but Stacy Lewis is refreshingly unique in her approach to time keeping. Last year the 13-time winner won the Scottish Open but that didn't stop her singling out her playing partners Aza Munoz and Jennifer Song after being paired with them for the last two rounds.

Here are her forthright (and very welcome) thoughts on how things might improve...

1 More spot timing
People are paying attention. Our officials have gotten on to people a little bit more. I know there's been more fines and more penalties have been given out over the last year. Maybe it's gotten a little bit better. What I would like to see is more kind of spot timing. They have implemented a policy this year where you can be timed when you're not out of position if an official happens to be there, and if you're over, it's just a fine right now.
The guys I played with, one is a member at Crail, and he said their time limit is three hours. I mean, granted, tee-to-green is a short walk. But that's how the game should be played. It's enjoyable, you can take three or four hours out of your day and you can go do whatever else you need to do where now, you're literally spending half of your day at the course, and not a lot of people have time for that.

2 Shots not fines
I would like to see if an official is there and you take too long, you should get shots. I would honestly like to see that. Because I think as a tour, we need to make this game more enjoyable, make it more fun to watch. You know, it's just I think with COVID, we could potentially be losing people coming to tournaments, losing eyeballs watching us, and I would like to see us be on the forefront of making the game faster and making it more fun.
Carlota Ciganda got a penalty shot at the Match Play, she had a loss of hole and it lost the match. I mean, it was harsh. Everyone initially was, wow. I think hers was even in that format, I don't know if she was out of position or not, but it is harsh, and it looks harsh to the media and everybody on the outside. But I do think we need that. Because you start playing with shots that affects where you are on the leaderboard, affects how much money you're making, it affects your status at the end of the year. That affect things a lot more than $1,000 fine does ultimately. I'm okay with it and I'd like to see more of it.

3 Play the first shot you see
When you say things like that, people are going to say you're complaining and this and that but the response was actually great. People are like, "I'm so happy you talked about it. I'm so glad you put it out there that things need to get better?"
Aza actually came up to me and talked to me and asked how she could get better; "How do you and Travis come up with kind of the shot you're going to hit so quickly?" just kind of asked how she could kind of speed herself up, which I thought that was pretty cool, kind of taking ownership of it and probably realising she is going to play better if she does play faster.
I think for Aza, it was just making a decision. I think the hardest part about links golf is you can be in a spot and hit four or five different shots. I really see shots and so I'm going to pick the first shot I see. A lot of times, you second-guess it, and you end up picking something else that's the wrong thing. Your first instincts are usually right, and that's what I kind of told her is trust your instinct, trust your first instinct and try not to over-complicate it.

4 Slow play is a habit
When I came out on Tour, there were a handful of slow players and now there's a handful of fast players. I think that's the best way to put it. I think it's just the realisation of it. I think you start one player you play with who is slow and then there's a lot of players their pace of play depends who they play with. If they play with someone who is slow, they take their time; you walk slow, you don't do a whole lot fast. I wouldn't say it's a courtesy thing. I just think it's kind of just the way we've been trending.
I remember first time on Tour, I played slow. You just could never keep up with them. It's little things. If you are first to hit, you need to walk faster and go get to your ball and if you're last to hit, you'd better be pulling a club out when the person is hitting.

5 Be more like the veterans
I think of some of the older players I've played with, they were all fast. I mean, a lot of your slower players are players that are younger than me that have come out after me. But there has not been a whole lot of push the last five or six years to get people to play faster. So if there's no penalties for it -- and I don't think our timing policy is still where it needs to be where you know people still kind of know how to work the system and get away with it.
We need to realise as a tour, we're going to lose people watching us and we're going to lose fans because we are taking so long to play and I think that's what really needs to be hammered home to people is we need to do it more from that side than anything.

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