This week sees the European Tour stage another new and innovative event.
Taking place at Diamond Country Club in Austria, the Shot Clock Masters isn’t your standard 72-hole strokeplay tournament. This one is designed to be played quickly – or else. Here’s everything you need to know…
How it works
Players will be made to adhere to official European Tour shot time allowances: 50 seconds for a “first to play approach shot (including a par-3 tee shot), chip or putt” and a 40 seconds for a “tee shot on a par-4 or par-5, or second or third to play approach shot, chip or putt”.
Every player will be timed on every shot and, each time they fail to play within the time limit, a one-shot penalty will be added to their for that hole.
A player can ask for a “time-extension” twice in any round, allowing a further 40 seconds over and above the above the allowances to play the shot in question.
How will it be enforced?
A digital clock mounted on a buggy will travel with each group and will be accompanied by a referee who will be responsible for operating the clock and determining when to start the clock for each shot.
Whether it’s because of US Open taking place next week or the threat of being ‘outed’ as a slow player, there aren’t many so-called ‘big names’ taking part this week. The highest ranked player in the field is world No.132 Wade Ormsby, above. He's joined by the likes of Miguel Angel Jimenez,2012 Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen.
Will it work?
If enforced as stringently as tournament officials say it will be, it will certainly be an interesting experiment. There are a lot of players who, without necessarily being ‘slow’, don’t perhaps how much time they take over their shots. To that extent, it will be interesting to see how it unfolds.
It could prove to be a good starting point for rolling out shot clocks more widely in tournament golf. There’s no escaping the disappointment that more of the game’s bigger names have chosen to skip it but kudos to the European Tour for once again trying something different and being proactive in the ongoing fight against slow play.