JB Holmes has apologised to Alex Noren for taking more than four minutes to play his second shot at the 72nd hole of the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday.
Holmes, who required an eagle on the par-5 18th for any chance of winning the tournament, contemplated whether to send a wood over the water and go for the green, or lay up.
Four minutes and change later, and the big-hitting American decided to lay up, much to the bemusement of his playing partners Noren and Ryan Palmer, the watching gallery and on-course commentators.
“I didn’t realise how long it was taking,” said Holmes, who hit an awful lay up into the rough only to play a superb recovery shot and make birdie to finish one shot out the playoff in fourth.
“We (Holmes and caddie Brendan Parsons) were just trying to make the best decision to play.”
At the time of the incident, Noren, just a few yards ahead of Holmes in the fairway, required just a birdie to wrap up his first PGA Tour title.
Noren eventually sailed his second shot over the back of the green and two-putted for par to enter a playoff with Palmer and eventual champion Jason Day.
“If it bothered Alex, he could have said something and he could have hit,” said Holmes.
“If I messed him up, I apologise. He still made a good swing. He smoked it. I don’t understand what the big hoopla is all about. I was just trying to give myself the best chance to win the tournament. I didn’t want to mess anybody up.”
Palmer, the third player in the group, had already laid up with a wedge - and eventually went on to make birdie to force a playoff.
He and caddie James Edmonson could hear the gallery get restless, but were more amused than bothered by the delay. “We kind of giggled at times,” said Palmer.
Others on social media were not so amused. Mark Calcavecchia called it horrendous sportsmanship to Noren and Palmer, while Daniel Berger, Luke Donald, Ken Duke and Steve Elkington all weighed in with their thoughts.
On-course commentator Steve Flesch made the point that instead of four minutes and 10 seconds, Holmes “could have taken six minutes and nothing would have been done. Last hole. Last group. Something should have been said way earlier.”
“I used to be slow. I’d agree with that,” said Holmes. “But it’s been years and I’m not slow any more. I don’t get timed more than anybody else.”
Incredibly, no statements have been issued by the PGA Tour as a result of Holmes' slow play at the final hole. Not to mention the fact it took the final group more than six hours to play 18 holes.
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