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 urgency builds no sense

It is the subject guaranteed to send even mild-mannered golfing commentators into a nation of hysterium. 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 harms video games appeal is pace of play. It is unquestionable that time taken for a round offers a cause for people not to bother. Component 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 alternative. The Australian, the world No1 no less, employed 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 into a shot. Assembling the information, I wasnt as deliberate.

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

I dont care so much about speeding up my game. Ive got to get back to what induces me good. If that entails I have to back off five times, then Im going to back off five times before I have to reached 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 results; we want to be the best and we want to do everything but the average Joe just 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 phase of slow at times, others apply the same approach without anything like the associated drama. Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garca spring instantly to mind. When Stenson railed against an over-zealous referee whom, the Swede believed, cost 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 intentionally slow depending on circumstances.

The notion that Day must be wildly chided for his sentiment is unfair and on quite a lot of levels. Day, like McIlroy, will advance the sport by winning marquee tournaments. When the 29 -year-old annihilated the field at the Players Championship in May last year , nobody severely 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 video games. They are doing this on courses that are savagely tough and necessitate deception because of how far equipment has advanced distance.

For Day to recognise what had propelled him to the top of his sport 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 too slow play, why should he feel the need to change approach?

The controversial part relates 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, their own problems is nothing to do with the former US PGA champion.

Amateur footballers dont follow the diet or training 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 training. Elite sport is different, common sense tells us that much.

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

If Day feels returning to earlier style should be the foundation to his pursuits, who are now we to argue? Abruptly holding the top-ranked player on the planet to account for the athletics ills is woeful exaggeration.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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