Mike Edgar, an Austin native and life long member of the Austin golfing community, recently related a story about how some of his Austin High golf teammates approached the issue of slow play.
Edgar, who played for Austin High during his high school days, related the story of Barry Bishop and Ronnie Thomas and their match to move up the team ladder. In those days, which were quite a few years ago, team members had a ranking system called a ladder. Any player could challenge the player above him to a match and if victorious, could move up a rung on the ladder.
Let me give you a bit of background about the contestants, both of which are now deceased.
Barry Bishop had a sharp wit and dry sense of humor. He went on to use this to his advantage during his career as an attorney here in Austin. His style of play was aggressive and quick, more of a gunslinger approach. As part of his persona, Bishop smoked cigarettes even back in high school. He eventually had a heart attack that he survived, quit smoking for a while, but eventually said to hell with it and smoked until his death. As one can imagine, Bishop was not a patient person and prone to tell you what he thought.
On the other hand, Ronnie Thomas was a plodder. He was a wonderful fellow and well liked by his teammates but he was slow and deliberate as a player. He later went on to become an accountant and worked for the state auditors office. He died at an early age while jogging around the track at Westlake High School. He never smoked.
Bishop knew Thomas was a slow player and that it would bother him during the match. So, he devised a strategy to overcome what he knew would be an impediment to him during the competition. The strategy was simple and effective. He brought a camp stool and a paperback to the course and when Thomas was taking too long to play a shot, he simple set up his camp stool and began reading the paperback.
Eventually Thomas responded to the tactic by calling Bishop a bad name. I was never told if the pace of play sped up or who won the match. However, you have to admit it was a novel approach to slow play.
It makes one wonder how that would play out if one of the tour players employed it on the PGA tour. You can picture someone like Davis Love or Adam Scott reclining in the sun reading an Ann Rand novel while patiently waiting for Kevin Na to hit a shot. Perhaps that would have been a good approach to address the incessant waggles one endured by Sergio Garcia’s playing companions.
To those of you with slow playing tendencies. Just remember, no one really cares how your shot fares, they just want you to hit the shot and move on.