Should Holmes be allowed to get away with his antics at Riviera?

The Scoop

Mark Townsend and Alex Perry lock horns in Alternate Shot

JB Holmes’ slow play tactics may have won him the Genesis Open but did nothing to win over the fans both at home and at Riviera. But is it OK? Once again the American is the subject of our Alternate Shot debate…

Yes, says Mark Townsend

My name’s Mark Townsend and I very much enjoyed watching JB Holmes win at Riviera.

There, I’ve said it.

Well done for getting the job done after a knackering week, for making up five shots on Justin Thomas in the final round, for getting your head round a three-putt from four feet eight holes out, and for being the last man standing.

Some of the field looked like extras from Platoon coming up the last few holes, Jordan Spieth was hopping around people’s back gardens, but there was JB, plumb-bobbing his way to his first victory in nearly four years. What a collection of shots he hit in among all the swirls, bumpy greens and weary limbs, round in 70 shots, well played.

Sadly all that this win will be remembered for is the snail-like pace that Holmes, and others, played the final round out in. Twitter’s full of the same outrage that we got with Bryson DeChambeau’s in Dubai when he talked us through his air density routine.

All of this is quite simple, either dock them a few shots or hush your beak. The 40-second slow play thing, that nobody adheres to, is a recommendation. Holmes wasn’t out of position on the course and didn’t get a bad time all week so where’s the problem?

So why not just stick to your own routine? Maybe drag down a few of your nearest and dearest in the process and, if you like to have 13 looks at it before going into the shot, then so be it. For all the talk of docking shots and “hitting the players where it hurts – their wallet” we’re nowhere near that.

People have been saying this for decades and decades yet but the authorities have so far been too scared to do anything. Adam Scott said: “My thing on slow play is it’s never gonna change. Just get over it. Until television and sponsors say ‘No more money,’ slow play ain’t gonna change.”

Maybe if we get a Sunday final pairing at Augusta of Holmes and Keegan Bradley with Kevin Na and Patrick Cantlay in the penultimate twoball and DeChambeau and Jason Day third last out then they might all sit up and take note as The Masters goes into a third week.

Until then relax, make yourself a nice, hot drink, put your feet up and enjoy the pantomime.

He’s behind y… oh no, he’s still on the 6th.

No, says Alex Perry

slow play

You’d take your time playing for millions, his backers cry. It’s not in the spirit of the game, the critics scream.

But is it acceptable behaviour? As with everything in life, I’m somewhere down the middle. Sure, he’s not technically breaking any rules, but at some point someone in a position of authority – and not just Brooks Koepka – has to do something about it.

It’s utterly infuriating, as an avid golf fan, to have to switch off because there is only so much footage of Holmes going through the whole rigmarole that is his plumb-bob routine one can take.

On one particular hole, Holmes had found the green while playing partners Justin Thomas and Adam Scott had missed. He waiting until both players had chipped on before beginning his routine.

It was this incident that sparked Sky Sports commentator Rob Lee to call it “pathetic”, while word on the Twitter street was that Kostis called out Holmes on American TV, describing him as “selfish”.

And they’re right. Being a slow player is one thing, being a slow player when you don’t need to be is a whole new ball game. I mean, it’s not even the first time we’ve asked this very question!

When you’re playing down at the club with your friends, what do you do when it’s someone else’s turn to putt? You’re lining your own up, of course.

And if you’re not, you’re the person everyone’s moaning about in the bar afterwards.

More on slow play in golf

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