As thousands of golfers returned to the courses across England on Monday, a familiar row erupted amid the fallout from the painfully slow conclusion of Sunday’s WGC Dell Match Play.
In the third straight All-American Final, Billy Horschel recovered from an early deficit to beat Scottie Scheffler 2 & 1 at Austin Country Club to win the £ 1.3million top prize.
Horschel had beaten Frenchman Victor Perez 3-2 in the semifinals before Scheffler beat Matt Kuchar by a hole in a game that lasted four hours and eight minutes in windy conditions.
Colin Montgomerie led a chorus of critics for what he considered a “ridiculous” playing pace.
“No one in front of them. Green reading books, lining up the lines on the ball. It really bothers me. And Matchplay is the fastest form of golf. Something has to be done, ”he wrote on social media.
In response to an image of the two players and their cadets consulting their logbooks, Montgomerie added: “All four have their logbooks. They’ve played the hole with practice nine times this week. I stood there for two minutes doing nothing! Slow play should be penalized. “
Former Women’s Open champion Catriona Matthew also called the slow play “pathetic.”
Closer to home, golfers across England celebrated the return of golf after a three-month lockdown.
Morley Hayes Golf Course in Derbyshire opened at one minute past midnight, with players using neon golf balls for a seven-hole charity tournament to allow the action to resume immediately under cover of darkness .
Andrew Allsop, Managing Director of Morley Hayes Golf, said: “It filled up instantly, there was so much interest because I don’t think there are places in England that do night golf and we obviously want to try to break into the records that we are the first to reopen on March 29.
“I think the buzz has been made even more buzzing because the weather forecast is great this week. All good weather golfers, everyone is out and the tees are reserved from Monday morning at first light, 6.30am, until the end. It’s like that all week.
However, the joy was not uniform across the country’s courses, with the Llanymynech Golf Club choosing not to open after being unable to accommodate more than 250 members due to a strange gap between coronavirus regulations in England and Wales.
The club, located five miles south of Oswestry, has 15 holes located in Wales and three in England. Welsh members of the club have been allowed into England, but the rules have not been relaxed the other way around meaning English members cannot travel to Wales.
This left golfers who live a few yards from the course entrance unable to resume play on Monday despite support from their local North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson.