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European Tour announces new plan to tackle slow play

New regulations will be trialled at next month’s BMW PGA Championship.

Bryson DeChambeau has come in for criticism recently.
Bryson DeChambeau has come in for criticism recently.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

GOLFERS WILL INCUR a one-shot penalty if they breach time allowances twice in a round from next season under new regulations introduced by the European Tour.

The issue of slow play has been a hot topic in the sport of late, with Bryson DeChambeau’s overly methodical approach at The Northern Trust last weekend a target for particular ire.

What action the PGA Tour chooses to take on the matter will now be a source of intrigue after its European counterparts announced a four-point plan focusing on the areas of “regulation, education, innovation and field sizes”.

Fines for players persistently identified as needing to be timed — known as being “on the clock” — will increase from November this year on the tour. At present, 15 timing offences brings a £9,000 fine but that will rise to £26,000.

At next month’s BMW PGA Championship, the new Pace of Play timing system will be trialled.

A statement from the European Tour read: “When players are out of position and either being monitored or timed, a one-shot penalty will be incurred after two bad times – currently a player would be ‘monitored’ and if he breaches the time allowance (50 seconds for first to play, 40 seconds for second or third to play) he will then be ‘officially timed’ and would then have to breach twice more before being given a one-shot penalty.

“Players will, however, have the option to request one time extension per round, giving an additional 40 seconds to hit a shot on this request.”

The Tour will also seek to cut field sizes where possible to encourage quicker play, while referees are to be encouraged to target slow players when it comes to being in position.

Players will have to pass an interactive rules test as part of their conditions of membership.

Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, said: “We are already at the forefront of pace of play management in the professional game, but after being mandated by our Tournament Committee to be even firmer in dealing with this issue, the time was right to take these additional steps.

“I believe the plan we are implementing for the 2020 season will bring about meaningful change that will make golf even more enjoyable for the players and our fans, whether they are at the course in person or watching on television.”

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