Paddy Vs. the Clock
This past weekend's PGA Tour stop at Firestone helped educate many golfers (including myself) on what it means to be "put on the clock" for slow play during a tournament. While I was previously aware of the term, I never really heard much about it other than the fact that it is essentially the same as a personal foul in basketball (so to speak). While being put on the clock holds no immediate penalties for the golfers, it does have the tendency to get into the heads of the group and can cause unneeded pressure... as we possibly saw with Padraig Harrington.
But let's get something perfectly straight here:
Paddy did not lose this tournament because he was put on the clock. Tiger had the same warning given to him, and he still managed to play mildly consistent through the end of his final round (with the exception, of course, of that amazing 8-iron on 16 which would be anything but "consistent" or "regular").
Paddy lost that tournament because he sculled a chip into the lake.
Let us not forget that this man has won numerous tournaments/Majors in the worst conditions possible for the game of golf. There are even magazine articles written about his practice routines regardless of the weather or temperature. Are we really to believe that a little stopwatch is going to get inside his head?
He made one bad shot at the worst possible moment. One shot ruined the tournament for him, as is normally the case down the stretch.
But Harrington shouldn't feel too bad. After all, if he pars 16 instead of taking an 8, and Tiger still makes his birdie, Paddy still loses by one shot thanks to Tiger's birdie on 18.