What does it take to get a slow-play penalty in a major?
You have to go back to our current Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama to find the last player to get pinged for slow play in a major. Now., eight years on. have another in the John Catlin.
The American, playing on an invite after winning three times in the past year on the European Tour, was given a warning after taking 74 seconds to play a shot on the par-5 16th, his seventh hole of the day. Five holes later at the 3rd he then took 63 seconds to hit his approach which saw him being handed a shot penalty. So his par 4 was changed to a bogey 5 – Catlin would end the day with a 75.
The rule states “when it is your turn to play, it is recommended that you make the stroke in no more than 40 seconds after you are able to play without interference or distraction. You should usually be able to play more quickly than that and are encouraged to do so.”
Interestingly the first group took five hours and 20 minutes to get round as play crawled round as usual so to point the stopwatch at Catlin is either a) good news given how tedious the pace of play can be or b) a bit of point making at a lesser name. Had it been a player in a TV threeball then you would have got a load more headlines than Catlin received.
Before Matsuyama we had the 14-year-old amateur Guan Tianlang penalised a shot at the Masters the same year. The good news was that he still made the cut.