McIlroy: The pace at Lytham must improve

McIlroy: The pace at Lytham must improve

On the eve of the Open Championship, the R&A suggested it would aggressively enforce its pace-of-play policy, setting a target of 4 hours, 30 minutes for threesomes. Early into Day 1 at Lytham, it was clear the field was off target and the R&A would do nothing about it.

Rory McIlroy said the governing body must step in to improve the pace.

"This is an issue that has to be addressed because the fans don't want to sit and watch TV and guys not hitting shots and standing over their balls. You want to see it flow," said McIlroy, who shot 3-under 67 to trail Adam Scott by three shots.

"It's definitely something we need to address because I don't think a round of golf should take over five hours. It would be great if we could speed it up a bit."

R&A officials said it would offer "words of encouragement" to lagging groups, but was somewhat handcuffed in assessing penalties when officials frequently doubled as members of search parties for golf balls lost in the deep, thick grass enveloping errant shots.