Jack Nicklaus used the re-opening of changes to his Centennary Course at Glenagles to sound off at the current pace of play among professionals and amateurs alike.
Golf’s Golden Bear’ has always been very vocal in commenting on aspects of the game and being back in Scotland was no different for the 72-year old.
The European Tour recently slapped a one-stroke penalty on England’s David Howell for slow play during the Wales Open, and a decision that drew widespread support.
As well, the LPGA Tour and the R & A have each issued slow play penalties.
The one glaring exception is the PGA Tour, and with commentators and TV pundits outraged over Kevin Na’s tortoise like behaviour during last month’s Players Championship.
And while the PGA Tour has remained a mouse when it comes to slow play, Nicklaus roared his disapproval.
“I’m 72 years old and I am very concerned about the game of golf because people will not take five or six hours out of their time,” said Nicklaus to AGW colleague and Herald golf correspondent, Nick Rogers.
“If you are going to penalise somebody, the amateur authorities use strokes.
“On the Tour, they also need to use strokes as a fine means nothing to these guys. I was penalised twice when I was younger and I didn’t like it all. I never got fined, but I wouldn’t have minded one.
“However, a two-stroke penalty? That gets your attention real quick.
“I finally learned how to move along and learned how to keep pace of play. The showcase of the game is taking too long and I don’t know where we are going to end up with it.
“All the heroes and role models that kids follow, if they play fast, kids will play fast. If they play slow, the kids will emulate their heroes and play slow, but that will put them out of the game. They have to move along and learn how to play.”
There had been a loud outcry in Scotland when the Nicklaus designed Gleneagles course was opened given it was the first golf course in Scotland to have cart paths.
However since last year’s Johnnie Walker Championship there has been some major changes to the course to host the 2014 Ryder Cup and Nicklaus was pleased with what he saw.
“The course, first of all, was not meant to be the toughest course in the world,” he added.
“It was a course for Gleneagles and its hotel and guests. I don’t think it’s going to be a course that breaks the back. It’s more about creating good shots than difficult ones. I think it’s a good golf course. I would still be out there if I didn’t think the course was where it needed to be.”