The European tour is taking its commitment to ending slow play to the next level with the announcement of the inaugural Shot Clock Masters.
In June, the stars of the European tour will venture to the new event at Diamond Country Club in Austria, where they will be timed on every shot they take. The first golfer to hit will receive 50 seconds to plan and play his shot, while each subsequent player gets just 40 seconds.
While penalties for slow play have long been on the books on the major pro tours, the rules are unequally enforced and rarely result in a stroke penalty. Not so at the Shot Clock Masters. There, the players won’t be able to hide from the large shot clocks that will follow their groups. If a golfer fails to hit his shot in time, he’ll be charged one stroke. Each player will have two chances per round to double their allotted time for more difficult shots.
“Not only will it help us combat slow play and reduce round times, it is also further evidence of our desire to embrace innovation,” said Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, according to CNN.com.
In the end, the hope is to reduce playing time for a group of three to four hours, and three hours and fifteen minutes for a twosome.
With round times on the PGA Tour now occasionally sneaking up to the six-hour mark, hopefully some form of shot clock system will make it over to the States, and sooner rather than later.