The European Tour will test a 40-second shot clock next June at the 2018 Austrian Open, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
Practically speaking, there won’t be a play clock behind the green ala basketball or football (or the GolfSixes event earlier this year). Instead, a referee will with a stopwatch will follow each group.
A player won’t be penalized for a first offense. Instead, he’ll get…you can guess? A yellow card! Each additional offense will cost a stroke.
“What a brilliant idea, and long overdue,” Lee Westwood Said.
It seems the 40-second limit will only apply to “traditional” shots and won’t be ticking while a player is considering how to play from the edge of a water hazard or some such. It’s also unclear when exactly the clock starts ticking.
Andy Sullivan said, “It underlines how long 40 seconds is to play a shot and how ridiculous it is that rounds take so long.”
The European Tour first unveiled the shot clock concept (with a literal shot clock) at the GolfSixes competition in May. Paul Peterson ran over his allotted time and was hit with a one-stroke penalty at that event.
The PGA Tour, which last year handed out its first slow-penalty penalty since 1995, hasn’t disclosed any similar plans.
Seemingly all professional golfers not named Jason Day want to speed up play. However, one would expect plenty of blowback if this constraint is widely adopted.
One thing’s for sure, the Austrian Open, perhaps for the first time ever, becomes must-watch golf.