Golf: Angry Baker Calls Time on 'Disgrace' of Slow Players; THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

Article excerpt

Byline: By Rob Tanner at Royal Birkdale

Peter Baker has called for the golfing authorities to clamp down on slow play after he slipped out of The Open in disappointing fashion.

The Wolverhampton professional was left on ten over par after firing a second consecutive round of 75, but he rounded on his fellow players after his round took five-and-a-half hours to complete.

The former Ryder Cup vice-captain had complained on Thursday after his opening round had taken a similar time to complete and he said the only people to blame were the players.

"I spent all day out there waiting for five-and-a-half hours, it's a disgrace," Baker said.

"You can only blame the players. We have everything done for us; people to tend to the bunkers and referees with us, so what the hell goes on out there?

"I think they have a big problem with it and I think it is time the authorities really clamp down on it, and do something about it because it is getting worse and worse.

"I know we have had bad weather but the course is fine. The blame lies with the players because they take so long lining up shots. What have they got to think about?"

Baker was also unfortunate that a heavy, swirling shower similar to the rain that blighted the start of the competition, hit the course just as he was coming to the turn and in difficult conditions he dropped shots at nine, ten and 11.

After making a mini recovery, bogeys over the final two holes sealed his fate and now he must concentrate on improving his ranking of 154 in the European Order Merit and keeping his Tour card.

"I am very disappointed," he said. "Every time I found the rough I never got away with anything. I putted a lot better but that is little consolation because I am gutted not to make the weekend."

Steve Webster's Open nightmare continued in the gloom of Friday morning. The 33-year-old from Atherstone must have still been half asleep as he was up at 4am to tee off at 6.30am and double-bogeyed the first hole.

Bogeys followed on the fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth, only punctuated by a rare birdie at the par-four fifth. At the turn he had dropped from nine over to 14 over par and it was about to get worse. He bogeyed the tenth, 11th and the 15th before losing his ball at the 16th and picking up a triple-bogey. He bounced back with a birdie at the 17th and finished with a par for a round of 80, 19 over for the championship.

Webster tried but he could not hide his deep disappointment with his performance.

"It was almost the same story as the first round. It was disappointing from the start," he said. "I went left into the deep rough at the first hole, picked up a double bogey and thought 'here I go again'. …