Masters Champ Schwartzel Goes Off On Rules Official

The discussion surrounding the problem of slow play on the PGA Tour has been much talked about in recent weeks since the outrage spawned by Genesis Open winner J.B. Holmes two weeks back. 

This week at the Honda Classic, 2011 Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel didn’t take kindly to being put on the clock by PGA Tour rules official Andrew Miller, which may give some insight into why officials are so hesitant to actually dock players for their deliberate behavior.

On Friday, Golf Channel cameras showed Schwartzel having an animated conversation with Miller from the previous afternoon. Schwartzel’s threesome had finished their round and the South African was shown talking animatedly with Miller. 

“We’re showing you Charl Schwartzel having a heated discussion with PGA Tour official Andrew Miller,” Golf Channel lead announcer Dan Hicks said. “And normally, Schwartzel is a, you know, very mild-mannered, quiet kind of guy, but he was heated up. This was after he completed his 18th hole and was done.”

Playing alongside the notoriously slow Ben Crane as well as Anirban Lahiri, Schwartzel didn’t appear pleased that he was being subjected to a mandate to speed up play down the stretch. Add to the mix that Schwartzel bogeyed the relatively easy 18th hole before confronting Miller, and you’re left with a frustrated South African. 

“I said, ‘Do you think that’s really fair?’” Schwartzel explained. “He said, ‘Yeah, you are behind.’ I said `No, we are not. We are not holding up anyone. The guys behind us aren’t even on the 17th tee. And the guys in front of us are finished.’

“I get it if we have nine holes to go, that maybe we are a hole behind, but the fact is the group in front of us finished 14 minutes behind the group in front of them. The group in front of them finished 16 minutes behind that group. So, we were exactly in slot for what was going down the last few holes.

“I was just angered with the way the situation was handled. It just wasn’t necessary. Sometimes, it’s necessary, but at that stage, on the very last hole, you are not keeping anyone up. There is no point.”

Schwartzel enters the final round of the Honda Classic at 1-under par and in a tie for 30th.