KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia: Graeme McDowell was hit with a slow play warning at the Saudi International on Friday (Saturday in Manila) because he had given an on-course TV interview.

golf McDowell - McDowell hit with slow play warning
Graeme McDowell AFP PHOTO

“I hit a pretty nice tee shot on the fifth,” McDowell explained. “Tim Barter is out there interviewing for Sky Sports and he asked me to do an interview walking up the fairway, which I said yes to.”

The Northern Irishman, who started his second round on the back nine, said an official had been monitoring his trio, which also included Phil Mickelson, since the previous hole.

“I took an extra few seconds and he gave me a monitoring penalty, which puts me officially on the clock at that point.”

Under the new European Tour Pace of Play policy, he will be penalised one stroke if he gets another warning during the tournament.

“It upset my rhythm for a couple holes. I was trying to play too fast. I was disappointed that he didn’t give me a little bit more room for error on the situation, but hey… we’ve got to play faster, simple as that.”

The 2010 US Open champion had started his round on the back nine, birdied the next hole, which was the 15th of his round, and parred the last three — all of which he had birdied as he shot 64 in the first round.

Frenchman Victor Perez birdied three of the last four for a round of 65 to take the lead, two shots ahead of McDowell who finished with a 68.

“I get where everybody is coming from with the new rules. I think they are great. I kind of let it affect me,” McDowell admitted. “Because I felt like I had been playing pretty fast till that point.”

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