American PGA Tour veteran JB Holmes didn't make it into the Farmers Insurance Open playoff, but his highly criticised actions on the 72nd hole in regulation did play a role in why the playoff took place in the first place - and probably also contributed to why it wasn't completed on Sunday.
Playing with 3rd round leader Alex Noren of Sweden and fellow American Ryan Palmer, Holmes was two down and needing an eagle at the par-5 18th at Torrey Pines South when he walked up to play his second shot. Noren, meanwhile was seeking a gettable birdie to win the tournament outright.
Holmes, however, couldn't make up his mind about how to play his second shot. Should he go for broke and hit his approach over the pond guarding the green or should he lay-up. He looked at his course notes, spoke to his caddy, deliberated, walked in circles, fingered his clubs - and then deliberated some more.
Four long minutes dragged by and still, he hadn't fired a shot in anger - and then, when he did, a good few second later, it was for a pretty lame lay-up that gave him virtually no chance of an eagle. Expectedly he finished in a safe tie for third with fellow American Keegan Bradley.
The long, tedious wait hardly did Noren's nerves any good and when the Swede finally hit his approach, it airmailed the green and left him with a par and a playoff against Day when he failed to get an up and down, from a difficult lie.
Slow play like the kind Holmes' exhibited at the 18th resulted in the final trio taking almost six hours to complete their closing round - and was a major reason why the playoff, eventually made up of Noren, Palmer, and Australia's Jason Day was halted when bad light stopped play with Norean and Day still fighting it out at the 5th extra hole and why it will have to be completed today (Monday).
Holmes didn't come away from the event, however, without some stinging criticism from his fellow pros.
Here are a few examples from Twitter.
American young gun Daniel Berger said:
Most tour players aren’t slow but because of a handful of slow ones we all get a bad rep— Daniel Berger (@DanielBerger59) January 28, 2018
English veteran Luke Donald said:
Anytime today JB...— Luke Donald (@LukeDonald) January 28, 2018
Mark Calcavecchia, a former Open Champion, was more severe. He said:
1. JB needs to be fined or better yet given 2 shots— Mark Calcavecchia (@MarkCalc) January 28, 2018
2 Needs eagle to tie. After all that lays up? Really???
3 Horrendous sportsmanship to Noren and Palmer
About his lay-up, Holmes said he believed he had a better chance of making an eagle with a wedge from 100 yards out rather than reaching the green with a wood and when Golf Channel's Ryan Lavner asked him if he regretted holding up Noren, Holmes replied,
Asked JB Holmes if he regretted taking so much time to play his second shot on 18, while icing Alex Noren: “No, I was still trying to win. So that’s part of it.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 29, 2018
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