Golf- particularly professional golf- is having a tough run at the moment.

Players are being called for penalties that are probably a bit harsh and have no bearing on the result of the shot. Players have been disqualified from events for temper tantrums. Guys are having to contort themselves into a praying mantis position just to drop their ball back into play. And now we have the ugliness of slow play again rear it's early head.

No matter how many hours are in a day the tortoise like play at yesterday's Genesis Open.. damn I hate calling it that (lets name it properly) -The Los Angeles Open presented by Genesis- the golfers would have had a hard time finishing before dark.

Plumb bobbing one foot putts. Reading green books to determine break rather than using instinct. Flag in- whoops hang on the next guy wants the flag out. All made the final round a real snoozefest for the viewer.

I always thought if I was going to miss it, I may as well miss it quick. Al Czervik of Caddyshack fame would've lost his voice yelling out at players "Come on while we're young" if he was at Riviera Country Club this weekend.

As my PGA playing days expanded I would often be paired with slow players and often be drawn in one of the early tee slots. Setting a pace of play with the early groups is paramount to helping the entire field move along without delay. I liked to play quick. I did my preparation for each shot while the other guys were hitting and when it was my turn to go it didn't take long to pull the trigger.

As was often the case in those rounds we would be put "on the clock" by the rules officials as we had fallen behind pace due to the "slow" guys I was battling against. It was difficult. It detracts from your own game most definitely, putting your rythum out of kilter. Also, the way the rules are setup the slow play violation holds no mercy if you get caught taking too long whilst on the stopwatch. Your playing partners disrespect brings you under the microscope. Heck there was even a rule at one point that if your group went on the clock something like ten times over the course of a certain period- even if you weren't the culprit- you would be fined.

I remember playing at Callaway Gardens one year, in the now defunct Buick Classic or Buick Open or whatever it was- there were a lot of Buick events in those years...and my group was being timed. I had a 10 foot putt on the 8th green and as luck would have it a bug flew onto my ball as I was over the putt and wouldn't leave his scenic resting place. Can't blame him, it was the best seat in the house if you wanted a birds eye view. I marked the ball again, got rid of the intruder, remarked and putted. Yes I made the putt!!!

I was petrified that I had taken too long and walked over to the rules official who was timing us- the late great Glenn Tate- and asked him how my time was seeing I had to back off and start over again. He just laughed and waved me off saying I had taken 28 seconds to do the entire thing and wasn't even close to over stepping the time limit even with two goes at it. He then looked me in the eye and said- we ALL know who the slow ones are here.

So I had taken approximately half my allocated time, doing my routine twice and yet we were out of position with the field. Any mathematician can work out the "turtles" were taking over 90 seconds per shot for us to be hurried around with a stop watch.

Therein lies the difficulty. How do you penalize players that are undoubtably slow but who know how to caress the rules once they go "on the clock"? They walk faster, they play a little faster, they get back on the right time zone and once the rules official says you are no longer being timed, they throw out the anchor again and start the process over.

A shotclock has now been implemented in tennis to get players to serve faster and not over delay the playing of each point. The same method has been trialed in a European PGA event and seemed to bear results. Not only were rounds faster but it also seemed to indicate scoring was better also!!!

Surely with all the technology involved in PGA Tour events some type of timing process could become automatic.

Shotlink shows us left rough tendency from the tee. It gives us total feet proximity of all iron approach shots. Three putt avoidance. Strokes gained from bunkers on the 3rd hole on every third Saturday of the month (I spek in jest) but it probably could come up with that one!!!

Why can't the technology being used also be put to use to time players. Not when they fall behind a group or get out of place in relation to the group ahead. Why not on every single shot? You finish your round- the rules official hits the button and boom!!! You had 3 or 8 or 23 bad times throughout the round and you get fined accordingly. Too may occurrences starts to become strokes added.

That's the excuse I heard in yesterday's aftermath..."Well if you were playing for this much money you would be inclined to take your time on every shot also". Ok fair enough. If money is that important to you then here's a $500 fine for every "bad time" you received- via Shotlink- in yesterday's final round. It may well be the only way to get the turtles around the course faster.

Yes there are often circumstances where a player needs more time. I saw a few instances last week were Tiger and Phil were so far off line they needed a compass to find their way back to the hole. So yes it can take a little extra time to get a suitable yardage in those instances. Shotlink shows that also. If you are 85 yards left of where you should be then the info is right there on the screen and discretion can be used in that instance.

Some shots are also more difficult than others. They require more time and admiration of the situation for the golfer to paint the picture of what he needs to do to execute the shot.

And there are instances were the gallery moves or there is a distraction that insists you reboot and start again. That stuff can all be recorded via the technology alread in place.

That reminds me of a funny story. One of my friends who was playing the Web Com tour was having a lean year. A lot of missed cuts and general poor play had him reflecting on whether it was time to rack his cue and look for another line of work. Yet somehow he dug deep and was equal leader heading into the final round at Peak & Peek on year- a snow resort up near the PA and NY border that doubles as a golf course in the desirable weather months of the year.

The pressure was on. His group - the final group of the day- were "on the clock". On the 13th hole he backed off his shot and went through the whole routine again. The shot found the green but as he started walking in that direction- putter in hand- the rules official informed him that he had actually gone over his allocated limit and therefore had received a bad time.

The rules official asked him if he had to back off the shot because of the gallery or any noise or voices nearby that interrupted his concentration. He wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt if circumstances had caused the shot to have taken longer than permitted. My friend looked at the offical and said unequivocally that "yes he had heard one hundred different voices whilst over the shot- all in his head!!!"

That's what golf can do to you.

The slow play buck- pardon the pun- stops with the PGA players. Golfers copy and watch their every move in an attempt to self improve their own games. They buy the same clubs, same clothes. A really poor trait they also inherit is taking too long to play a shot.

It's time to set a tone at the top so it trickles through the masses. Even Adam Scott said last week he would happily take a bad time penalty as a headline player if it meant change could come into effect. It may have to get to that unfortunately. I just feel with the technology already in place there may be an easier option to bring that change about.