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New season in golf: new rules for players

The European Tour will test a 40-second shot clock in the 2018 season, starting at the Austrian Open in June.

A referee will follow each group, showing a yellow card for the first offence and a stroke penalty for infringements thereafter.

Numerous players have expressed their delight at the decision, with Lee Westwood saying “what a brilliant idea” and Andy Sullivan adding “it underlines…how ridiculous it is that rounds take so long”.


David Howell told : “We’ve discussed it and agreed it should take place. Among the committee, we think it’s worthwhile trialling that week in those specific circumstances. The field is not the strongest so it can be shortened without doing anyone too much harm. That allows the opportunity to get around quickly, so that’s why it is that week.”

However, the former Ryder Cup player adds there are some issues, such as when players need to decide how to play complex recovery shots.

"You won’t have time to work out shots like that if you’ve only got 40 seconds, which is a big negative," Howell said. "We’re not suggesting this is how professional golf should be in the future."

Slow Play is the current buzzword in golf, with rounds taking longer each season.

The European Tour has introduced a numerous shorter formats of play, including GolfSixes which forced players to hit inside 40 seconds, while the PGA Tour handed out its first penalty for slow play since 1995 last term.



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