Rory McIlroy has called for slow players to receive a solitary warning before receiving shot penalties.
The issue of slow play came to the fore again during the final round of the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, where world number one Brooks Koepka tapped his wrist in the direction of officials to signal his displeasure with the time taken by playing partner JB Holmes.
Holmes was not penalised and also famously escaped punishment despite taking four minutes to hit a single shot on the final hole of the Farmers Insurance Open last year.
“The guys that are slow are the guys that get too many chances before they are penalised,” McIlroy told a pre-tournament press conference ahead of The Northern Trust in New Jersey.
“It should be a warning and then a [penalty] shot. It should be you’re put on the clock and that is your warning, and then if you get a bad time while on the clock, it’s a shot. That will stamp it out right away.
“We are not children that need to be told five or six times what to do. OK, you’re on the clock. OK, I know if I play slowly here, I’m going to get penalised, and I think that’s the way forward.”
Under current European Tour regulations, “a stroke(s) penalty may only be imposed if the same player has two or more ‘Bad Times’ while having been officially timed during the same round.”
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After a long and illustrious career, American golfer Tom Watson played his final round on Sunday before retiring from competitive golf.
Just six weeks shy of his 70th birthday, the eight-time major champion holed out for the last time at the Senior Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes – a tournament he has won three times, saying he no longer “has the tools in the toolbox” to be competitive in the Senior majors.
Five of Waston’s major titles came at the Open, where he first captured the Claret Jug in 1975 before adding further titles in 1980, 1982 and 1983.
He almost became the oldest major champion at the age of 59, only to lose in a play-off to Stewart Cink at the 2009 Open at Turnberry.
Brooks Koepka eased to a three-shot victory at the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational after Rory McIlroy’s final-round misery continued in Memphis.
Koepka posted a five-under-par 65 on Sunday while McIlroy could only manage a one-over 71 to finish five back at 11 under par in a tie for fourth – the seventh time he has failed to break 70 in the final round of his 13 PGA Tour events so far this season.
Webb Simpson’s six under was the best score of the day and saw him finish second while Marc Leishman also finished ahead of McIlroy in third on 12 under after a 67.
McIlroy began Sunday with a one-shot lead but his advantage evaporated early on day four as Koepka joined him at the top of the leaderboard after firing a birdie on the par-five third hole to grab a share of the lead.
The Northern Irishman made par on every hole on the front nine but found himself two shots behind Koepka at the turn after the four-time major winner’s back-to-back birdies at five and six.
McIlroy was by then joint second with Simpson, who was playing five holes ahead of the final pair and made a flying start with an eagle on the par-five third.
Koepka extended his lead with another birdie on the 10th before McIlroy’s challenge faded with his first dropped shot of the day at the 12th.
Another bogey on the par-four 15th left McIlroy on 11 under and four shots behind Koepka. The Northern Irishman had now been overtaken on the leaderboard by Simpson and Leishman and was tied for fourth spot with Tommy Fleetwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick, which was how he would finish.
Five birdies between the 10th and 16th holes had put Leishman in contention but the Australian gave two back with bogeys at 13 and 15.
Koepka maintained his three-shot advantage to clinch the title with a bogey-free round to finish on 16 under.
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