European Tour to Debut 40 Second Shot Clock in 2018
Slow play has long been cited as a common frustration with golfers - both playing and watching the game on TV - and the European Tour has taken a dramatic and innovative step designed to address that issue. Next year's Shot Clock Masters in Austria will be the first official tournament to use a shot clock on every shot as the circuit looks to combat the increasingly lengthy time it is taking for the top professionals to complete 18 holes.
Following these rules, the first member of a group will have 50 seconds to play a shot, with just 40 seconds being made available to subsequent players. Should that time be elapsed, the guilty party will receive a one-stroke penalty for each infraction and have a red card shown against their name on the leaderboard.
However, each player within the 120-man field will have the opportunity to declare two ‘time-outs’ during a round which will permit them twice the usually allotted time to play the shot. Strategy will certainly be required in this instances.
The European Tour has pledged to speed up the pace of tournaments, and did trial a shot clock during GolfSixes earler this year, but a full-implementation within a proper event is a striking move from CEO Keith Pelley, who hopes that rounds will be reduced by 45 mintutes, with three-balls clocking in at four hours and two-balls at three hours and 15 minutes.
“The 2018 Shot Clock Masters will be a fascinating addition to our schedule next year," said the Canadian. "Not only will it help us combat slow play and reduce round times, it is also further evidence of our desire to embrace innovation.”
Congratulations @EuropeanTour after 30 yrs a deterrent that will work pace of play has been determined by the slowest player for too long— Colin Montgomerie (@montgomeriefdn) October 23, 2017
Taking place next June, it will be fascinating to see the response from both players and fans. Certainly bringing a fresh dynamic, the European Tour - if successful - may be setting a trend that could be more widely adopted in future.
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