Solheim Cup: 'Painfully slow' pace of play in fourballs dominates discussion on opening day


The Friday afternoon fourball session at the Solheim Cup was overshadowed by slow play as Europe took a one point lead after day one. 

The 'painfully slow' pace of play dominated the conversation on the opening day of the Solheim Cup as Europe gained a one point lead over the Americans, leading 4.5 - 3.5. 

It became apparent that players in the afternoon groups in particular weren’t paying much attention to their pace, but the problem was compounded as officials failed to police the situation. The result was that it took the first group of the afternoon session 2 hours and 57 minutes to complete the front nine alone, which was a detriment to what was otherwise an afternoon of record breaking victories and spectacular golf shots.

What was clear is that it was the fault of the many not the few, but strangely it was only Lizette Salas who was given a bad time, when she took longer than 72 seconds to play a shot at the 13th hole. And while there is no doubt she was slow, there were plenty of other offenders.

Both Captains conceded that the length of time it took the matches to be played was ‘painfully slow’, but argued that until the officials decide to enforce the rules, the problems will likely continue. 

“Yes, it's painfully slow out there,” said Inkster. “I know we had maybe a couple on our side that are maybe a little bit slower, but they have a few on their side, too, that are a little slow. So I don't know, I don't know what to do. 

“It's not fair,” Inkster continued said about only penalising Salas, “because the other players know how to play the game. So my players are playing at their pace. And then when they say we're timing them, they speed up. And that's -- they make a living out of that.

“So until we change the rule, they're going to keep doing it. And they know who they are."

“Obviously that back nine this afternoon did get pretty slow,” said Matthew. “I don't really know what caused it. When you're jumping around not following just one game it's difficult to tell.

“But some of the players on both sides do take quite a while to hit a shot. But it's the officials really. They're the ones who police the pace of play, so it's really up to them, I think.”

Former Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjorn also joined the conversation, and while he agreed slow play is a problem, he made it clear he feels that the Solheim Cup isn't the place to deal with the issue.