Time to celebrate Jason Day’s talent not blame him for golf’s ills | Ewan Murray

If the authorities are determined to curb slow play, picking on the world No1 while dismissing others who are renowned for their lack of importance attains no sense

It is the subject guaranteed to send even mild-mannered golfing commentators into a state of frenzy. Piece the words slacken and play together before watching triggers fly; it can really be great fun. The only thing more consistent than slow play is the regularity with which people prattle on about it.

The fact remains, one of the key elements that damages the games appeal is pace of play. It is unquestionable that time taken for a round offers a cause for people not to bother. Part of that, it has to be said, is societal rather than specific; everything is done quicker or has to be seen to be done quicker than ever before. The flip side? Hours spent on a course can be highly relaxing.

Step forward Jason Day, for whom sprinting when at work has never been a viable option. The Australian, the world No1 no less, used pre-tournament media obligations in Hawaii on Tuesday to insist the fear of upsetting others by not playing quickly enough was detrimental to his progress during 2016.

There were a couple things that I didnt do as well the second half in the season, he said. I wasnt as deliberate going to get a shot. Assembling the information, I wasnt as deliberate.

What followed drew inevitable cross-reference to Rory McIlroys explosive remarks relating to Olympic participation. It also centred socialmedia rage around Day. I cared about, you know, patently everyone wants to speed up the game, the Australian added. Thats a big topic, to speed up the game.

I dont care so much about speeding up my game. Ive got to get back to what stimulates me good. If that means I have to back off five times, then Im going to back off five times before I have to made the shot.

For recreational golf, I understand. But for golfers that are trying to win and that one shot that could take you out of a play-off, thats important, and you need to make sure that you get everything correct. Were driven by outcomes; we want to be the best and we want to do everything but the average Joe merely doesnt get it.

That was just one of the things I wasnt as deliberate that I should have been and thats what Ive got to try and do a lot more, be a little bit more deliberate going into a shot and make sure I do everything correctly.

The Day stigma itself is curious. For all there is no doubt he is deliberate to the point of slow at times, others apply the same approach without anything like the related drama. Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garca spring immediately to mind. When Stenson railed against an over-zealous referee whom, the Swede believed, expense him the 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational there was little in the way of comeback. I thought we were here to play golf , not finish at 6pm, Stenson said. Others are purposely slow depending on circumstances.

The notion that Day must be wildly chastised for his sentiment is unfair and on quite a number of levels. Day, like McIlroy, will advance the athletic by winning pavilion tournaments. When the 29 -year-old annihilated the field at the Players Championship in May last year , nobody seriously insisted that shot hour entailed an asterisk be applied.

He is perfectly correct to point out the enormous stakes being played for by a collecting of players who are separated by very little at the summit of the game. They are doing this on courses that are savagely tough and necessitate trickery because of how far equipment has advanced distance.

For Day to recognise what had propelled him to the top of his athletic in the first place is also reasonable. He did this within the rules; if the PGA Tour has no inclination to punish Day for what others regard as excessively slow play, why should he feel the need to change approach?

The controversial part refers to Days average Joe analogy. Again, though, it actually has merit. If a 55 -year-old, 12 disability amateur playing for sweep money or less in a club medal believes an overstated preshot routine and round of five hours is perfectly fine on the basis it applies to Jason Day, the problem is nothing to do with the former US PGA champion.

Amateur footballers dont follow the diet or develop regime of Lionel Messi. Club tennis players dont participate in the length of warm-up or warmdown session like Andy Murray, just as they dont pack in work for a month of warm-weather train. Elite sport is different, common sense tells us that much.

Days goal for 2017 involves approaching the peak he probably scaled too early last year. Injury, so often a Day bedfellow, was significant as he could not construct serious impact at the majors, a second at the US PGA aside.

If Day feelings returning to earlier style should be the foundation to his pursuits, who are we to argue? Suddenly holding the top-ranked player on countries around the world be held accountable for the athletics ills is woeful exaggeration.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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