Patrick Cantlay responds to critics of slow play

Patrick Cantlay of the USA watches a putt on the 17th green - Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Patrick Cantlay of the USA watches a putt on the 17th green – Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Patrick Cantlay, the world number 4, has responded to allegations of “brutally slow” play in the final round of the Masters, insisting he and fellow player Viktor Hovland also “waited all day for virtually every shot”. Cantlay also argued that slow play was inevitable in professional golf, “where every shot counts so much.”

The American’s comments are likely to infuriate golf enthusiasts who have been complaining in droves about how long it took the pros to complete their rounds on Sunday.

Cantlay was a particular target, not only because of his infamous tics before every shot, particularly his putts, but also because he was later singled out by a fellow pro.

Brooks Koepka, who blew a 54-hole lead to finish tied for second, and eventual winner Jon Rahm, were continually shown disgruntled on the tee boxes or in the fairway for the Cantlay and Hovland group to clear. Koepka is one of golf’s most outspoken critics of slow play. “Yes, the group in front of us was brutally slow,” Koepka said later. “Jon went to the bathroom like seven times during the round, and we were still waiting.”

Cantlay rather than Hovland was accused of being the culprit, not least because the Norwegian very keenly tried to rush things at various points in their round. In a Twitter clip that later went viral, Hovland played his greenside chip on 13 before Cantlay had even crossed Rae’s Creek.

Cantlay, however, was unrepentant. “We finished the first hole, and the group in front of us were on the second tee as we approached the second tee, and we’ve been waiting all day for pretty much every shot,” Cantlay said ahead of this week’s RBC Heritage. “We waited on 15 fairways, we waited on 18 fairways. I guess it was slow for everyone.

It’s hard to tell from the coverage how slow the group in front of Cantlay – Hideki Matsuyama and Russell Henley – were, but it is true that the pace of play was slow overall. It took Cantlay and Hovland approximately 4 hours and 45 minutes to complete their round.

This was partly due to weather delays on Friday and Saturday, which buoyed the tournament to the point where the final round was played in pairs from the 1st and 10th tees.

Cantlay, who hasn’t addressed his tics, added that slow play was “just the nature” of professional golf, especially at a tournament like the Masters where the pressure is so great, and at one course, the Augusta National, where the greens are so fast and sloping.

“Yeah, one thing that’s interesting sitting on the PAC [Player Advisory Council] it’s that you get all the numbers and data,” he said.

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

“I think it might have been attributed to some of the slow play on Sunday, and then also when the wind is blowing in gusts and the wind is blowing maybe inconsistently, that’s when the boys are going to take a long time too. I think it’s just the nature of playing professional golf where every shot counts so much.

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