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Jack Nicklaus is blaming the golf ball for slow play

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Jack Nicklaus — Getty Images

There are plenty of reasons for the slow play problems on professional tours. If it isn't guys backing off shots anytime a negative thought passes through their skull it is a caddie lining their players up perfectly on every shot or a guy looking at putts from 12 different angles.

One thing that never crossed my mind on why slow play is an issue in pro golf? The golf ball. Yes, the golf ball.

Jack Nicklaus thinks that is the exact reason why pros are taking upwards of six hours to play rounds of golf these days, telling Kathy Bissell of Bleacher Report that he finds the added technology to the golf ball the reason for the men and women we look up to on the golf course moving like snails between the ropes.

"The main culprit (in) slow play, to me, is the golf ball and the distance the golf ball goes," Nicklaus said. "Golf, it used to take three hours, three and a half hours, British Open, you used to play the last round in three hours or less. Today they take close to five hours."

Now before we dive into the strange thoughts of the 18-time major winner I think it's fair to point out that he isn't just saying it's the golf ball itself, but what the golf ball has done. The technology for these new golf balls has forced golf courses to lengthen, meaning the courses are longer, harder and take longer to walk.

But still, the golf ball? How about blaming the purses for the slow play? Back when Nicklaus won his final Masters, in 1986, he took in $144,000. That is less than the guy that finished 11th at Muirfield won, so yeah, maybe spending a few more minutes over putts is more important these days and guys don't want to rush it knowing a bad shot or two down the stretch could cost them a few millions bucks in both purse and sponsorship money.

Or how about blaming the PGA and LPGA Tours? We can come up with ideas like "while we're young" but if nothing happens because you're slow, it doesn't really change anything. Pros know that a slow play penalty is hard to come by, and if they get warned the just rush up to the next group only to slow down again.

Slow play is a huge issue in golf. I really believe that the two things golfers really care about when playing is the conditions of the greens and the pace of play, and most golfers when being brutally honest would rather play at their local muni with good greens and nobody on the course than a five hour round at the nicest country club in town.

I just don't really know if the Pro V is the reason for all this.

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