Slow Play, Amateurs and Extreme Weather Make Pebble Beach Unwatchable

The final group were unable to complete 18 holes in five hours

Pebble Beach Unwatchable

The final group were unable to complete 18 holes in five hours

Slow Play, Amateurs and Extreme Weather Make Pebble Beach Unwatchable

The Pebble Beach Pro-Am should be one of the best tournaments of the year, but the pace of play rendered this year's final round unwatchable.

Players had to deal with difficult conditions and a rain delay to push things back a couple of hours which 'only' left five hours of daylight left to complete the tournament.

When I heard that players have five hours to complete their final round I was relieved as it meant that we were indeed going to see the tournament's conclusion on Sunday night.

After all - five hours to play a round of golf is more than enough time isn't it?

However, it became clear very quickly that it wouldn't be the case.

Nick Faldo in the CBS commentary booth was adamant that five hours would not be enough time and he was right.

It is never the fastest tournament with the amateurs playing alongside the pros, but the team better-ball format means that amateurs can pick up once their pro has already got the team score for that hole.

It is obviously a big deal for the amateurs but in a PGA Tour final round they should be doing their best to get out of the way as quickly as possible to aide their professional playing partners who are trying to earn their living.

Play was delayed after heavy rainfall and hailstones:

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The hooter went at 1pm local time to allow play to resume but the final group of Phil Mickelson and Paul Casey didn't tee off for another 10+ minutes due to there being three groups on the opening hole.

Over half an hour later, the final group reached the 2nd tee.

In total, they took around three hours to play the front nine as a threeball with Casey's amateur partner, although they were following a mix of fourballs and threeballs due to some pro-am teams making the cut and others not.

Related: Koepka - Nobody has the ball to penalise slow players

It is said that golf has a problem with slow play, and in the final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am it was glaringly obvious, with the whole thing eventually becoming unwatchable after it became clear that they wouldn't be finishing.

Mickelson and Casey were unable to complete 16 holes in the five hours of daylight that they had available to them, although it wasn't as if they were being held up as every single group barring their's has finished.

They'll be the only group on the course on Monday morning (local time) where Mickelson is expected to win a fifth Pebble Beach Pro-Am title.

The conditions were clearly tough for the competitors with balls plugging in the rough and bumpy greens due to all of the traffic and weather that they had to deal with.

The new Rule that allows spike marks to be tapped down was being used to full effect as well which perhaps impacted on the pace of play.

Despite of all of this, you would think that the best golfers in the world (and their amateur playing partners) would be able to get round in 4 hours.

Were you watching the final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am? Let us know your thoughts on the pace of play on our social media channels

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor 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. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, 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 2-5. 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: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5