Graeme McDowell became the latest golfer affected by the European Tour’s more stringent pace-of-play policy. But unlike others including Bryson DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland, the 2010 U.S. Open champ had a good excuse.
As McDowell had done the previous day at the Saudi International, he gave a short on-course interview with Sky Sports’ Tim Barter. But this time, he was informed by a rules official shortly after that he had received a bad time for his ensuing shot. Sounds a bit harsh, no?
Here’s how McDowell explained the situation after:
“I think I got a monitoring bad time which then turns into being officially on the clock,” McDowell said. “I just did an interview with Tim Barter, so I was 50 yards behind the guys; and I was up there and first to go and I had 215 yards into the wind. It was a difficult shot. I’d have called a time-out if that had been something that was automatic in my brain. It’s just, you know, the last thing I think of out there. I called a time-out after I hit the shot, but the referee was not really willing to give me any kind of room for error at all. Then, you know, that kind of upset my rhythm for a couple holes. But hey, we’ve got to play faster.”
McDowell still managed a second round 68 and is just two shots behind leader Victory Perez heading into the weekend. Phil Mickelson, who entered Friday two shots back after a wild first round, fell into a tie for 12th place after a second-round 70.
The European Tour began its new pace-of-play policy earlier this month. While it hasn’t resulted in any penalties yet, speed of play has picked up and warnings have been given out to individuals more often. Most notably, Bryson DeChambeau was given a bad time on the back nine during the final round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday while he had a share of the lead. DeChambeau bogeyed his final four holes to finish T-8.
“You know, slow golf, it doesn’t help the viewer and it doesn’t help the club golfer on the weekend and we’ve just got to play fast,” McDowell added after Friday’s round. “That’s something I’m working hard on doing. I really feel like my routine over the last few years has gotten better and better and better. I was disappointed to get that bad time, but it is what it is.”