Slow play is the anthrax of golf. Watching a Tour event in person is downright torture for me waiting some 2-3 minutes per player to line up and stroke a putt. I know they’re playing for their livelihoods, but I’m also confident pros can speed up their pre-shot routines without negatively affecting the scorecards.
The always-pushing-the-envelope European Tour announced they will attempt to light a fire under the slow players’ rears by initiating a shot clock at the Australian Open.
The dilemma for the tour was how to implement the principle on every hole in a regular tournament but it sounds like they’ve come up with a neat variation.
A referee will walk with every group and time every stroke. Players will be allowed 40 seconds for each shot and receive the equivalent of a yellow card for a first offence. Every breach thereafter will see them docked a penalty stroke each time.
The welcome initiative will be trialled at the Austrian Open with one official estimating it will speed up rounds by 45 minutes.
If that happens, it’s hard to believe it wouldn’t be introduced subsequently at every tournament in the world.
‘The idea was floated at a players’ meeting on Tuesday night and it received unanimous support,’ said the official, a view backed by Lee Westwood. ‘What a brilliant idea, and long overdue.’ d
I cannot wait. If the officials are truly serious, this could be a huge benefit for not only the pro tours but maybe copycat slowpoke weekend warriors to finally play “see ball, hit ball” without needless practice swings or pondering the break on a two-foot putt.