October 24, 2017 / 6:59 AM / a year ago

Golf: Shot clock at next year's Austrian Open to combat slow play

FILE PHOTO: Britain Golf - BMW PGA Championship - Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, Surrey, England - 29/5/16 CEO of the PGA European Tour Keith Pelley speaks during the presentation Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Boyers Livepic/File Photo

(Reuters) - Next year’s Austrian Open will be the first tournament in professional golf to set a time limit on every shot in a bid to combat slow play, the European Tour has said.

The Shot Clock Masters at the Diamond Country Club next June will give the first player in a group 50 seconds to make any given shot and 40 seconds each for players that follow.

A one-shot penalty will be incurred for bad times, shown as a red card against the player’s name. Players can also opt for two time-outs in a round, giving them double the allotted time to play the shot.

“Not only will it help us combat slow play and reduce round times, it is also further evidence of our desire to embrace innovation,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley told the tour website (www.europeantour.com).

The European Tour trialled the concept on a single hole in the GolfSixes event at the Centurion Club in May and were happy with the feedback from players and fans.

Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, currently 11th in the Race to Dubai rankings, welcomed the change.

“The new shot clock format is an ideal way to focus on the issue of pace of play,” he said.

“The game of golf should definitely be faster and therefore this is a step in the right direction.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru

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