February 21 — Gotta wonder what was going through Aaron Baddeley’s head Sunday as Northern Trust Open playing partner Kevin Na and his caddie plumb-bobbed the hell out of every putt. With Baddeley finally putting out for his win after more than five and a quarter hours on the Riviera Country Club course, golf watchers might wonder why the PGA Tour does not follow the lead of the Ladies European Tour and actually penalize golfers for slow play.
It’s unlikely Baddeley — reportedly one of the nicest guys on tour — would employ the Rory Sabbatini method of goosing competitors (who can forget the prickly Sabbatini rushing to the 18th tee during a 2005 event while Ben Crane plodded along?). But no one would have blamed Baddeley, who must be the fastest putter on the planet, if he had tapped his toes in frustration while Na fussed about on the putting surface.
Speed putting. Seriously, Baddeley could have putted out, lifted his cap, signed his card, hoisted his trophy, and been home for dinner by the time Na putted out on the first hole. For those of you keeping score at home, here’s a primer from Baddeley about how to putt for speed and accuracy: Line up your putt, take your stance, put your Scotty Cameron behind your Pro V1, take a quick look at the cup, hit the ball.
As for what occurred on the LET, officials nabbed Giula Sergas for slow play on the 18th hole of the third round at the recent New Zealand Women’s Open. The one-stroke penalty knocked her out of the lead at the time and she eventually finished second.
Not surprisingly, the punishment did not sit well with Sergas. “They said I was a little too slow. It could’ve been,” Sergas told media members after signing her third-round card. “I play really, really fast. It was really upsetting because I am a really fast player and I got penalized for just one hole that went bad for me. I am really upset about it and the decision regarding it.”
Officials warned Sergas’ group on the back nine. “The players were…formally informed that they would be timed as they came off the 14th hole and they remained on the clock until the 18th when Giulia Sergas unfortunately exceeded the accumulated time and was penalized on hole 18,” LET rules official Fraser Munrol said.
Goosing Na. A bit more policing of the guys might push slowpokes like Na (voted last year’s No. 2 player his competitors would “Like to See Miss a 3-footer to Win a Major” to pick up the pace.
Baddeley was an early disciple of the controversial Stack & Tilt approach to golf. Read how the Aussie’s win Sunday should table the talk about Stack & Tilt.