AAP Golf

Slow play becoming an ‘epidemic’: McIlroy

By AAP Newswire

Rory McIlroy has slammed the pace of play on the US PGA Tour, labelling it an "epidemic" after firing his way into a share of the Players Championship lead during a second round which took more than five hours.

McIlroy's electric round began at 1.59pm, but the four-time major winner was only signing his scorecard for a seven-under-par 65 after 7pm.

Although the Northern Irishman shares the 36-hole lead at 12 under with Englishman Tommy Fleetwood (67), McIlroy was irritated at slow play and unleashed in his press conference.

McIlroy and Fleetwood lead veterans Jim Furyk (64) and Ian Poulter (66), as well as Brian Harman (69) and reigning Australian Open winner Abraham Ancer (66).

Slow play has become one of the PGA Tour's most talked-about issues, which came to a head at the recent Genesis Open in Los Angeles when winner JB Holmes was lambasted by commentators for his slow final round.

Brooks Koepka, who won two major championships last year, has also been highly critical, declaring "no one has the balls" to penalise slow play.

On Friday at TPC Sawgras, former world No.1 McIlroy joined the chorus.

"They don't do anything about it ... it's become (an) epidemic," McIlroy said.

"It's our livelihoods and people are going to take their time."

In Thursday's opening round, India's Anirban Lahiri was in the final group off the first tee, teeing off at 2.30pm, but hadn't finished by sunset at 7.30pm.

Lahiri decided against tapping in a three-foot par putt on the 18th due to darkness and came back on Friday to make it.

"The fact someone didn't finish yesterday (with) daylight savings, and someone had to come out today because there wasn't enough light to finish? I mean, that's unacceptable," McIlroy said.

"Honestly, I think (the PGA Tour) should be a little tougher."