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13th Apr 2023

Patrick Cantlay responds to criticism of his slow play at the final round of the US Masters

Niall McIntyre

Patrick Cantlay has responded to Brooks Koepka’s comments about his slow play at the US Masters.

“The group in front of us was brutally slow,” said Brooks Koepka after his final round at Augusta.

The four-time major champion had the misfortune – we’ve all been there – of having to sit and suffer behind some notoriously slow play.

“Jon (Rahm) went to the bathroom like seven times during the round, and we were still waiting,” added Koepka.

In Cantlay’s defence, it should be stated that Koepka and Rahm are two of the fastest players on tour, and they were the two who were chasing him down.

It got to the stage, however, on the thirteenth hole, where his playing partner Viktor Hovland was so worked up that he was no longer able to turn a blind eye.

The Norwegian skipped so far ahead of a dithering Cantlay on that hole that, in a move you’d very rarely see, he was chipping onto the green before the American had even crossed the bridge.

Similarly, Hovland had sent a not-so-subtle message to his playing partner earlier in the round, on the seventh, when he paced well ahead of Cantlay who was dawdling over an approach shot.

In the end, it took the final two groups just under five hours to play their 18 holes of golf which, when they were only playing in pairs, is almost beyond belief.

Behind Cantlay, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm were waiting around on almost every hole and as the camera panned to Koepka, in the middle of another long wait on the Par Three 16th, the look on his face told you all you needed to know. He was at his wits end.

In the mean-time, Cantlay has defended himself, claiming it was ‘slow for everyone.’

“We finished the first hole, and the group in front of us was on the second tee when we walked up to the second tee, and we waited all day on pretty much every shot. We waited in 15 fairway, we waited in 18 fairway. I imagine it was slow for everyone,” the world number four ranked golfer told reporters.

“When you play a golf course like Augusta National where all the hole locations are on lots of slope and the greens are really fast, it’s just going to take longer and longer to hole out.

“I think that may have been what attributed to some of the slow play on Sunday, and then also when the wind is gusting and the wind is blowing maybe inconsistently, that’s when guys will take a long time, too. I think that’s just the nature of playing professional golf, where every shot matters so much.”

Cantlay wasn’t the only golfer playing slow, it has to be said, and there’s no denying that it’s a huge problem for the game in general.

Amateur Sam Bennett also played a big part in the delays in Augusta on the final round.

In the past, Bryson Dechambeau played so slow that his pace-of-play led to the PGA Tour reimagining their rules regarding slow play. They brought in an “observation list,” back in 2021 to deal with what is an age-old problem in the game, as well as excessive shot times and increased penalties and fines.

As of now, it would seem like they still have more to do.



US Masters