Gene Wojciechowski over at ESPN has just published an amusing article on the Tour’s slow play problem, generally, and Kevin Na, specifically. Gene spent the first round of the Bay Hill Invitational in the company of Na, Paul Goydos and Chad Campbell as they– in the complete absence of any obstructions, mind — wandered their way to a five-hour round.
“In the time it takes Kevin Na to hit a putt you can watch Seasons 1-6 of “Lost.” You can see your fingernails grow. You can retrace the voyages of Magellan.
I don’t know if Na is the slowest player in professional golf, but according to one PGA Tour rules official I spoke with Thursday, he’s in the Final Four of pokiness. Na is so slow that snails ask if they can play through.”
Aside from spending the time thinking of comical ways to relate Na’s pace of play, Gene also indulged his inner scientist, timing his subject and transcribing the minutiae of his pre-shot routine in all its numbing glory:
“A typical Na putting routine:
Place ball at marker … look at line from front … look at line from back … pick up ball … caddie lines up putt … caddie plumb bobs with wedge … place ball back at marker … line up putt … caddie plumb bobs again … two practice strokes … pick up mark and put in right pocket … two more practice strokes … putt.”
His caddy plumb bobs with a wedge… twice… on every putt!?!
After taking, I’m guessing, a few minutes after the round to collect himself and take stock of his life, Wojciechowski headed to the range to canvas opinion. Suggested courses of action ranged from doing nothing to summary execution, with the severity of the interviewees’ recommendations decreasing in direct relation to their level of guilt. Bubba Watson wants stroke penalties; Pat Perez, one suspects, dreams of a violent resolution; Jim Furyk (originator of the infuriating ‘set up to the putt then walk away and start all over again, goddamnit’ routine), on the other hand, isn’t convinced much can be done at all.
Unsurprisingly, this is a problem that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.