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Geiberger receives highest slow play fine

Brent Geiberger got into the PGA Tour record books by winning the same tournament as his father with his two-shot victory in Greensboro. But he also made history for something that bothers him.

Geiberger became the first player to be fined $20,000 for being put on the clock 10 times in one season.

``I understand they're trying to do something about slow play and trying to get a system that works,'' Geiberger said. ``But it's not a system that shows you're a slow player.''

The Tour last year introduced a tough penalty structure to combat slow play. Some players were concerned that they would be guilty by association if they kept getting paired with notoriously slow players, because everyone in the group is considered on the clock when they are out of position.

Geiberger pointed out another situation he feels was unfair.

Tour officials pay more attention to the first three groups, because they set the pace for the rest of the field. PGA Tour winners get later tee times, so Geiberger has been among the first off because he had not won since 1999.

``If you're in the first three groups, those are the one trying to keep the pace up,'' he said. ``If I'm in the middle of the field, the winner's bracket, and you're a minute or two over, they let it slide a little.''

Mark Russell, senior rules official for the PGA Tour, could not comment on Geiberger because the Tour does not disclose fines. But he agreed earlier groups get more scrutiny, saying a rules official is assigned to the lead groups every Thursday and Friday.

``That's the way it has to be,'' Russell said. ``It would be like the lead car driving 20 mph. You think there's going to be a traffic jam? But there's a ton of others in the same situation. Those guys have got set the pace.''

Geiberger said he was put on the clock twice at the Wachovia Championship. One of those was when Scott Hend had to get two rulings in three holes.

The 10th time, which cost him $20,000, irritates him the most.

It came in the Buick Championship at Hartford after the short par-4 15th, where players are asked to let the group behind them tee off before finishing the hole. Geiberger says Bob Burns drove beyond the green onto the 16th tee box. Once Geiberger finished the 15th, he had to wait for Burns to get a drop and play to the green before his group could even get on the 16th tee.

``Of course, there's going to be separation,'' Geiberger said. ``It doesn't mean they should put us on the clock. It doesn't mean I should get a $20,000 fine that I had to pay.''

Geiberger will be able to put his theory to test. His victory in Greensboro will put him in the middle of the tee times with other PGA Tour winners for the next two years.

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