European Tour gets tough on slow play with stiffer penalties, fines

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European Tour gets tough on slow play with stiffer penalties, fines

Golf

European Tour gets tough on slow play with stiffer penalties, fines

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The European Tour is set to get tough on slow play after announcing a four-point plan to speed players up beginning next season. It follows consultation between rules officials and the 15-man tournament committee.

The Tour will introduce one-shot penalties more quickly next season, increase fines, implement mandatory slow play lectures and online rules tests, install pace of play monitors on tees and reduce field sizes.

Pace of play has been in the headlines often this year, most recently with Bryson DeChambeau taking 2 minutes and 20 seconds to hit a putt. However, the issue came to the forefront in Europe in May when Edoardo Molinari publicly outed perennial slow pokes on Twitter after taking 5 1/2 hours in the Trophée Hassan II in Morocco.

Starting next year, players will receive a one-shot penalty after receiving two bad times. Currently players are given three chances before incurring one-shot penalties. Fines for consistently slow players are to be more than doubled next year too.

A referee will be assigned to all new members to emphasize the tour’s pace of play policy, while existing members will have to take an online rules test every three years.

A pace of play system with on tee display boards telling players where they are in relation to the group in front will be put in place as a trial at next month’s BMW PGA Championship, with a view to full implementation next season.

Finally, the tour will look at reducing field sizes from 156 to 144 competitors, and introduce larger starting intervals on Saturday and Sunday to improve pace of play.

“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,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said.

“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.”

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.

“We have had some very interesting and robust debates in the process of agreeing the new initiatives. With a combination of education, deterrents, technology and modifications to the fields, we believe we have arrived at a set of fair and proportional measures to improve the experience for everyone involved in the game.”

As for deterrents, fines for consistently slow players will increase significantly. The tour gave the example of a player who is timed 15 times in the 2020 season will have to pay £26,000 (about $31,480) in fines as opposed to £9,000 ($10,890) this season.

 

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