We have seen plenty of player-on-player spats over the years on the PGA Tour, but you don't hear a caddie rip another player much to the media. That happened on Saturday at the Valspar Championship after Kevin Na was once again the target of a slow play controversy.
Na was paired with Robert Garrigus in the final group at Innisbrook and the two were put on the clock on the 7th hole by PGA Tour officials for being out of position. It happened again on the 13th hole, when Na and Garrigus both were told they had bad times, the first time in Garrigus' career he was assessed a bad time, and it was after the round that Garrigus' caddie let Na have it.
“It ain’t fair playing with Kevin Na,” said Garrigus’ caddie, Brent Henley. “It ain’t fair.”
The veteran caddie would go on to say he thought Na’s slow pace got Garrigus out of his rhythm to the point “we felt like we were running.”
Garrigus actually downplayed the pace of play distractions on his back nine 37 that included two short misses for par, but one would have to think that a fast player that never deals with potential penalties would be thrown off by something like this.
Na is a man known to be slow, and that is a hard stigma to shake on the PGA Tour. Garrigus even said after his round that he thought Na had improved his troubles with pulling the trigger that were highlighted at the 2012 Players Championship, but I don't think what Henley said was that far off.
Playing with a slow player is a hazard much like a bunker or a pond. You might not hit into that hazard on a certain hole, but you definitely know it's there, and that is the problem with playing with Na. It isn't the fact that he's slow, it's the fact that you know it could become a problem at any point in the round, and throwing off your game even the smallest percent can take you from winning to losing on the PGA Tour.
The defense for Na is that the kid has worked on this over the last few years, saying he feels he's "90 percent" better than he used to be, and no matter how slow he plays out there it sure doesn't seem like the PGA Tour will be giving out penalties anytime soon.
Still, if the Valspar Championship needed a boost for Sunday they might have landed it with this pairing that will once again be on the course together for the final round.
Get your stopwatches ready.
- Sports & Recreation
- Robert Garrigus
- PGA Tour
- Kevin Na