Aug 18th, 2019
Stop slow play update
European tour announces four-point plan
European Tour has announced a concrete four-point plan aimed at tackling the issue of slow play in professional golf. The plan will be implemented at the start of the 2020 season and focuses on four key areas: regulation, education, innovation and field sizes.
The four points are:
* Immediate one shot penalty for two bad times in a round
* Increased fines for players consistently ‘on the clock’ during the season
* Player education and technological innovation included in overall plan
* Reduced field sizes where appropriate
Key to the regulation changes will be a player only having to breach the time allowances twice in a round to incur a one-shot penalty. In addition, there will be significantly increased fines for players who are regularly placed ‘on the clock’ throughout the season, alongside reduced times for players to play shots.
“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.” Said Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour.
All players will now be required to pass an interactive rules test as part of their conditions of membership, while new members will be allocated a dedicated referee to educate them on pace of play policies at the start of their European Tour career.
Technology will also be embraced with the trial of a new ‘Pace of Play’ timing system at next month’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Depending on the success of the trial it will be rolled out to the European Tour, the Challenge Tour and the Staysure Tour in 2020.
The tour will also be committed to reducing field sizes where possible, while remaining mindful of providing playing opportunities, as well as using larger starting intervals during the final two rounds of tournaments.
Tournament Committee Chairman David Howell, said: “There is no doubt that pace of play is a hot topic in golf and as players we were keen to explore ways to address these issues in various areas.
GolfPunk applauds the first two points and hopes that the ‘two bad time’ rule will be strictly applied in practice. We are yet to be convinced that education and technology will help change a player’s mindset and surely field size should not be significant if all golfers play at the required pace. However, we applaud the European Tour for actually doing something and hopefully it will nudge the likes of the PGA Tour and LPGA to follow suit.
And another thing...