How slow can you go? Probably not much slower than these four: Ken Brown of Scotland, Bernhard Langer of West Germany, Denis Watson of South Africa and Nick Faldo of England.
They were the top vote-getters in an informal poll of Golf Digest magazine as pro golf's slowest players.
The slowest? Brown gets that vote. But just so no one really gets left out, Faldo and Langer got the harshest criticism.
Said Lee Trevino, one of golf's fastest, of Brown: "When I played with him in the third round of the 1980 British Open at Muirfield (Scotland), we finished four holes behind the group ahead. The next day Brown and Tom Watson finished four holes behind the group ahead of them. That tells you something about Ken Brown."
Brown told Golf Digest: "I can play slow or fast, whatever I want."
As for the other players, Donnie Hammond said: "Langer is in a class by himself."
And Bob Gilder said: "Faldo ought to be fined every time he plays."
Penalties for slow play include a $1,000 fine for the first infraction, $1,500 for the second and disqualification for the third. Those rules rarely are enforced, though.
The fastest players, according to Golf Digest, are Trevino, Fuzzy Zoeller, Watson, Gilder, Craig Stadler, Mac O'Grady, Lanny Wadkins, Ken Green, Jim Gallagher, Mike Hulbert, Greg Twiggs and Don Pohl.
A new scoring system will make its debut on the LPGA Tour in 1988 at the $400,000 Planters Pat Bradley International tournament Aug. 4-7 at High Point, N.C. It includes features of a system that was first used on the PGA Tour in 1986.
The modified Stableford system awards or subtracts points on the basis of scores on each hole.
The 72-hole tournament will feature daily payoffs to leaders and a first-place check of $62,500. One player could win as much as $85,500 and record the single largest payday in the history of women's golf.
The 144-player field will be cut on the basis of most points scored. Players will compete for $150,000 in the first three rounds. Leaders and runners-up will be awarded checks each day.
Prize money for daily leaders will jump from $5,000 on the first day to $10,000 after the third round. Then the 16 players who survive the first three rounds will play for $250,000 on the final day.
The inaugural Senior Skins Game, featuring Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Chi Chi Rodriguez and 75-year-old Sam Snead, will be played Jan. 30-31, Super Bowl weekend, at the Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii.
There is continuing speculation that Palmer's first Senior Skins will mean that he has played in his last Skins Game. Palmer was skunked in the last Skins. It was the second time in four years he failed to win even one skin.
Some believe that Palmer doesn't need the embarrassment of playing poorly and may soon announce he has decided to play only the Senior Skins. Skins Game originator Don Ohlmeyer insists he would never force Palmer out.
The first Venice Open, which will be played Monday at MountainGate Country Club, will help the nonprofit Santa Monica Arts Foundation donate a sculpture to the city of Santa Monica. The field consists of 72 golf enthusiasts from the art world, including John White, creator of the L.A. County Art Museum series "Golf Notations," and Michael McColl. White has created 18 hand-painted tee markers for exhibition. McColl has sewn a series of flags for the greens. Celebrity golfers expected to play are Tony Danza, Charles Bronson, Dennis Hopper and Paul Michael Glaser. . . . Doug Ives, former Long Beach Independent-Press Telegram sportswriter, has moved from covering sports to operating them. Ives' Golden State Golf Tours, sort of a mini-golf tour, is now the largest in the country with 65 professional, 40 amateur and 30 senior amateur events and--in 1988--24 senior professional tournaments. With AT&T as sponsor for some of its tournaments, Golden State Tours pays purses of nearly $1 million. . . . The Junior Los Angeles Open Christmas Tournament, beginning at 8 a.m. Dec. 30 at Navy Golf Course in Cypress, is expected to attract 144 boys and girls ages 12 to 17. . . . University of Arizona senior Michael Springer and 17-year-old Phil Mickelson from University High in San Diego, won the Los Angeles Open amateur qualifying tournament and will play in the 62nd LA Open, Feb. 22-28 at Riviera. . . . Richard Chavez, a pro at Santa Barbara Community Golf Club, won the Joe Robinson/Bud Oakley Award for the promotion of junior golf at a meeting of the Southern California Section of the PGA of America.