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Lee Westwood has backed a new policy to end golf’s slow play problem

A genuine attempt is finally being made to tackle golf’s chronic slow play issue, with an enforced shot clock coming into force for a trial run at the Austrian Open next year.

It will be the first time such a move has been tested at a regular tour event, and for many fans, it is long overdue.

Slowcoaches will be served with penalty shots if they take longer than 40 seconds over a shot at the tournament next year, according to the Daily Mail.

And one official has predicted it could slash 45 minutes off the time taken to play a round, an improvement which, if proven successful, is likely to see the policy enforced across the professional game.

The rule was put into practice on one hole of the GolfSixes event at St Albans in May, with the same 40 second time limit, and seemed to go down well.

The challenge afterwards was coming up with a way to have the shot clock implemented at every hole on tour, and it seems that a decision has finally been reached.

A referee will be assigned to walk around the course with every group and time every shot.

Players will be allowed 40 seconds to complete each stroke, and receive a warning the first time they overstep this limit.

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After that, they will be penalised one stroke for every offence, a threat which is sure to hurry them along.

The official said: “The idea was floated at a players' meeting on Tuesday night and it received unanimous support.”

The move has been wholeheartedly endorsed by English golfer Lee Westwood, who believed it was long past time something was done to speed up the game.

“What a brilliant idea and long overdue,” he said.

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He’s not wrong: the blight of slow play has plagued golf for years, with the sport’s leading organisations never really seeming to tackle the problem.

Westwood’s Ryder Cup teammate Andy Sullivan also gave the policy his seal of approval.

He added: “It underlines how long 40 seconds is to play a shot and how ridiculous it is that rounds take so long.”

The idea was first tabled at the Alfred Dunhill Links course at St Andrews – incredibly, a course where pro-am rounds can take up to six hours to complete.


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