It’s another week of innovation on the European Tour as Diamond Country Club in Austria hosts the inaugural Shot Clock Masters.
1. Make it quick: The Shot Clock Masters makes history this week as the first tournament in professional golf to use a shot clock on every shot as part of the European Tour’s bid to combat slow play. The official European Tour shot time allowances will be in force: a 50 second allowance for a “first to play approach shot (including a par three tee shot), chip or putt” and a 40-second allowance for a “tee shot on a par four or par five, or second or third to play approach shot, chip or putt”.
2. No exceptions? Every player will be timed on every shot, and on each occasion that a player fails to hit his shot within the time limits, a one-shot penalty will be added to his score for that hole. However, each player can call for a “time-extension” up to twice in any one round, allowing a further 40 seconds over and above the above allowances to play the shot in question.
3. The technology: 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. The clock will be controlled by an iPad using a bespoke app.
4. Bite-sized history: Originally titled the Austrian Open, the first edition of the tournament was held in 1990, with Germany’s Bernhard Langer claiming the inaugural title. In 1997 the event joined the European Challenge Tour schedule, before Austrian-native Markus Brier marked its return to the European Tour in style in 2006, his third win at the event. From 2012 onwards, the tournament was known as the Lyoness Open, with another home hero, Bernd Wiesberger, claiming the title that year. Last season South African Dylan Frittelli claimed his maiden European Tour title at Diamond Country Club and went on to be named the Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year.
5. Ready to rock: Located 35km from Vienna, Diamond Country Club was designed by Englishman Jeremy Pern and sits in the beautiful Austrian countryside. European Tour veteran and fan favourite Miguel Ángel Jiménez, who enters the week in fine form after claiming his first senior Major title at the Regions Tradition in the United States last month, has since remodelled some of the holes, including the par four eighth. Water is a notable feature on the course, with a lake hugging the right side of the scenic par three 18th, making for a memorable finish. The course, also a European Tour Destination, has yielded a winning score of 15 under par or better eight times since the tournament returned to the European Tour 12 years ago.