John – I understand your competitive aspect behind the scenario listed.
I’ll play devils advocate. The player could have made a 9 by making ‘par’ from his 3rd tee ball. But more importantly, by picking up, he saved the group 40 seconds per shot equaling 200 seconds or 3.3 minutes. Compound this over 986 occurrences (amount of times a 10+ was recorded in 2018) in the tournament and that adds up to 48 HOURS of time saved. Two days worth of golf!! To say it didn’t help pace I would disagree.
From a competitive standpoint, sure, he could have made a 10, 11 or 12 and saved a stroke or two on the field. No arguing that. However, that’s not what we see the typical scenario at the tournament.
Stats wise – the most important fact I can put out there. Max 9 resulted 5.10% LESS people finishing in the top 10 who took one. How? No clue.
In 2018, ~0.4% of holes recorded a 10+ — 986 holes played — that’s what is affected by max 9.
On a totally separate note. Players who forgot to write a hole score in, accidentally broke a rule, or write their 9-hole total in hole 18. All of these are automatic DQ’s prior to the max 9 rule. This happens to ~30 golfers YEARLY and it ruins the experience for that player. Many of them, won’t come back out of principle. We cannot stand to see that happen simply because the rules of golf are fickle. However, with the new rules, we have the opportunity to step in and help.
We’re going to survey participants just to be sure of what you, the players, want. But max 9 is more beneficial than harmful from our current standpoint. (**Update 9/5/19 per survey 85% want it to stay)
Also – to those who say their handicap was established without a max 9 rule, I encourage you to look at the Handicap Manual and read through the Equitable Stroke Control section. Max 9 has nothing to do with this, just thought I’d mention!