The European Tour today took the first step towards combatting the issue of slow play in the game of golf by adopting a new Pace of Play policy.
The policy splits pace of play observation into two types, ‘monitoring’ and ‘timing’, and follows Chief Executive Keith Pelley’s pledge to address the ‘critical’ issue, made at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai last November.
It will come into immediate effect at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and thereafter at all tournaments sanctioned solely by The European Tour.
Pelley said: “As I said last year, slow play is a critical part of our game and we are determined to take the lead in combatting it. This initiative is the first step.
“Our new policy will help identify the slow players and will allow our faster players, who have never had a problem, to feel less pressured by the rules officials.
“We believe this measure will help keep groups in position on the golf course and, in doing that, shave up to 15 minutes per group per round. This will help make golf more appealing and engaging to our fans, both at the course itself or watching on television.”
PACE OF PLAY ANNOUNCEMENT IN FULL
“Monitoring” by referees will take place as soon as a group has been seen to be out of position. All Players will be notified that they are to be “Monitored” but the “Monitoring” will not be part of a player’s record.
• However, any player exceeding the time permitted for a stroke (40 seconds with additional 10 seconds if first to play) while being “Monitored” will be assessed a “Monitoring Penalty”.
• Any player having a “Monitoring Penalty” will be “Timed” from the next tee unless the group has regained its position.
• If a “Monitored” group loses further time, the group or those players within the group who are deemed to be the cause of the delay will be timed.
• If a “Monitored” group fails to gain time, the official will decide whether to continue “Monitoring” or alternatively, commence timing. All players will be so informed.
A “Monitoring Penalty” will have the same status as a “Bad Time” except it will not count towards any golfing penalty. A player having either two “Monitoring Penalties” or “Bad Times” or a combination, will be fined €2,600 (or the sterling equivalent of £2,000) rising by €2,600 (or the sterling equivalent of £2,000) for each successive “Monitoring Penalty” or “Bad Time”.
Additionally, any player who is seen to have taken twice the Time Permitted for a stroke (80 seconds or 100 seconds if first to play), will be assessed a “Monitoring Penalty” whether the player’s group was in position or not.
A group who is found to be substantially out of position might not be “Monitored” but may be timed as an alternative.
All other parts of the Condition of Competition on the ET Hard Card relating to Pace of Play apply as before except that Players will be advised when either “Monitoring” or “Timing” will commence.
All other Regulations listed in the ET General Regulations Handbook relating to Pace of Play also apply.