Friday, May 14, 2010

Too harsh a golf lesson for Yuko Mitsuka of the JLPGA?

I rarely play a round of golf on the weekends. I'm tired of the 'Sunday drivers' and slow players who search for their brand new, once-hit TaylorMade golf balls while laying tracks on freshly seeded fairways.

There usually is no penalty handed out by the rangers other than a stiff and formal "move it along" with a retort coming from the foursome something like, "it's the guys in front of us slowing down play." The golfers are probably right as the publinks often send out way too many golfers in an effort to collect as much seasonal income as possible. Either way, slow play makes it impossible to enjoy a day on the links.

In the case of Japanese golfer Yuko Mitsuka, there were no excuses given when the JLPGA invoked a two-stroke pace-of-play penalty last week at the World Ladies Championship.

Okay, so Yuko didn't at first bow and willingly accept her punishment.

When first hearing of her incurred two-stroke penalty, Mituska acted like any teed off golfer who just hit a grounder and angrily dropped her golf clubs and walked off the course.

Because Mitsuka quit halfway through the event, a fine imposed by the JLPGA of two million yen (about $21K US dollars) added insult to injury.

Realizing that her behavior was more befitting of John Daly than of a young lady from Japan, Mitsukla accepted the punishment and voluntarily withdrew from a total of eleven events as a sign of self-reproach.

Is this a smart move for Yuko or is she cutting her nose to spite her face, opting out of a few of the larger pursed tournaments to make a point?

On the PGA Tour, $20,000 fines called "The Prize", have also been "awarded" in the past for slow play but "nobody ever does anything about it," chides Rory Sabbatini.

Are "shot clocks" and "ready golf" the best way to move golf along at a more rapid pace or are stroke penalties and dollar assessments more effective for both betting foursomes and professionals?

Although Yuko Mitsuka took her medicine, was the JLPGA too strict in its punishment? Not from the JLPGA's standpoint!

"This will be a lesson to other golfers," said JLPGA chief Hisako Higuchi. "She has to take responsibility for her actions."

Higuchi may be right. How many women golfers in future JLPGA events will consider walking off the course because a penalty was placed on them?