Graeme McDowell Apologises To Referee After Bad Time In Saudi

G-Mac was handed a bad time during the second round, meaning another would have resulted in a one shot penalty

Graeme McDowell Apologises To Referee After Bad Time
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G-Mac was handed a bad time during the second round, meaning another would have resulted in a one shot penalty

Graeme McDowell Apologises To Referee After Bad Time In Saudi

Graeme McDowell is back in the winner's circle on the European Tour for the first time in well over five years after victory at the Saudi International.

The Northern Irishman won by two strokes but it could have been closer after he received a bad time in the second round.

Due to new European Tour slow play regulations, one more bad time on the weekend would have cost him a stroke.

McDowell was given a bad time after an on-course Sky Sports interview whilst his group were on the clock.

He was chatting to Tim Barter for TV and was subsequently behind his playing partners and then took 84 seconds to play his shot, 34 seconds more than the allotted amount of time.

"I was first to go and I had 215 yards into the wind. It was a difficult shot," he said after his round.

McDowell explained how his group was being monitored during the final round but he was trying his "damndest" to get back into position and avoid another bad time, which would have resulted in a one stroke penalty.

"The European Tour rules officials handled it very well in the end," G-Mac said.

"Of course I felt hard done by in the moment [during the second round].

"It was just kind of one of those, especially when I found out how important that bad time was; that it was a real bad time. Was going to haunt me as the weekend went on.

"But it's always an interesting dynamics when you're in the final group on the Sunday. You can detach yourself easily from the pack.

"Victor [Dubuisson] and I got off to a scrappy start and found ourselves a little out of position.

"So Mark Litton, he's loitering with intent.

"I'm running around that front nine, and I spoke to him walking off 11, I said to him, "We realise we're out here and we're trying our damndest and can't seem to get back in position."

"He said, "I'm watching. I see the effort. I appreciate it."

McDowell then apologised to referee Andrew Snoddy who called the initial bad time during the second round.

"You know, Snoddy, he gave me the bad time on Friday.

"I feel like he kind of got the brunt of the negativity that was created, that I caused him and I want to apologise to him.

"You know, these guys are just out here trying to do their job.

"That's a new rule, a new pace of play policy that needs to be enforced, and they are trying to make an example of players, not necessarily me, but they are trying to make a statement that you know, The European Tour are trying to do everything they can to make this game faster.

"I was glad we didn't get monitored and put on the clock coming down the stretch because that would have been something not necessary, not needed.

"It's just one of those intangibles. It's the last thing you need when you're trying to win a golf tournament.

"And there are a lot of hard shots out there on at second nine. My second shot to 13, the Rubik's Cube. Like I say, disappointing what happened. Thankful we all handled it well. I was really happy with The European Tour and the way they handled it, and you know, now we can all move on."

Related: Viktor Hovland on bad time - "I've never felt stressed in that way before"

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Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x