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European Tour

European Tour chief: We’ll eradicate slow play in five years

European Tour CEO Keith Pelley explains why he thinks slow play will no longer be an issue in years to come
 

The European Tour finally waged war on slow play this summer with the announcement of their new four-point plan aiming to eradicate the issue from the game.

European Tour CEO Keith Pelley has been at the forefront of the recent announcements and has been transparent in revealing the process to reach this point.

Their plan, which focuses on regulation, education, innovation and the reduction of field sizes was trialled in September’s BMW PGA Championship.

But Pelley, outlining the plans in his blog on the European Tour website, wrote: “We will continue to embrace technology, which has been at the forefront of so many initiatives we have launched in recent years. We did that via the trial of a new ‘Pace of Play’ timing system at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in September, complete with digital timing boards on the tees.”

He added: “In all of the discussions around pace of play, one thing we must remember is that one of the greatest challenges we face is the size of our arena. We play on what is the equivalent of 88 football fields and, in most weeks, with 156 players. The cost, infrastructure and accuracy required to time every player on every shot right now is prohibitive, but technology will change that.

“I am convinced that within the next five years, every player will be timed on every shot and, by the time we reach that point, the discussion on slow play will no longer haunt our game.”

While it is yet to be revealed whether or not the European Tour felt the Wentworth trial was a success, there is nothing to suggest the 2020 launch won’t go ahead as planned.

“It is important to stress that our plan is not simply a knee-jerk reaction to recent media stories surrounding certain US players and their pace of play,” Pelley added. “This is a well thought out and comprehensive plan which we were asked to pull together by our players themselves.

“It also, crucially, begins to differentiate between slow play and slow players. Hence, from the 2020 season onwards, there will be an immediate one-shot penalty for two bad times in a round on our Tour and increased fines for players consistently ‘on the clock’.”

Joe Hughes

Tour editor covering men's golf, women's golf and anything else that involves the word golf, really. The talk is far better than the game, but the work has begun to change that.

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