Paul Lawrie and Colin Montgomerie have both given the thumbs up to the European Tour stepping up its fight against slow play by introducing shot clocks, shot penalties and red cards at an event next year.
The 2018 Shot Clock Masters in Austria will be the first event in professional golf to use a shot clock on every shot, with the first player getting in a group getting 50 seconds to hit a shot then 40 seconds for the others.
Players will be hit with a one-shot penalty for each bad time incurred and these will be shown as a red card against their name on the leaderboard.
Each player will have the right to call two ‘time-outs’ during a round, permitting them twice the usually allotted time to play the shot.
It’s a beefed-up version of what was used in the inaugural GolfSixes earlier this year and both Lawrie and Montgomerie reckon it’s positive step in the battle against slow play.
“The new Austrian shot clock idea came up at committee meeting we held at the recent Dunhill Links,” Lawrie told The Scotsman.
“I personally think it’s a great idea and will definitely speed up play, which is badly needed.
“It’s a great idea for the Tour as shows we are keen to try new ideas to speed up play.
“I also think it will show a lot of players how slow they really are as quite a few of them don’t actually think they’re that slow.”
Montgomerie, another golfer who wastes little or no time over shots, responded on Twitter to the announcement about the event in Austria.
“Congratulations @EuropeanTour,” he wrote on the social media site. “After 30 yrs a deterrent that will work. Pace of play has been determined by the slowest player for too long.”
Last year, the European Tour introduced a new pace of play policy which included monitoring penalties and also handing referees additional powers to target slow players.
It is hoped this latest innovation will cut round times by around 45 minutes, reducing three-ball timings to approximately four hours, and two-balls to around three hours 15 minutes.
“The 2018 Shot Clock Masters will be a fascinating addition to our schedule next year,” said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.
“Not only will it help us combat slow play and reduce round times, it is also further evidence of our desire to embrace innovation.”