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European Tour introduces latest innovation with Shot Clock Masters

Golf’s European Tour has continued its innovation drive by rebranding its existing Lyoness Open tournament in Austria as the Shot Clock Masters.

Under an extended partnership with tournament promoters Golf Open Event, the 2018 Shot Clock Masters will be the first tournament in professional golf to use a shot clock on every shot as part of the European Tour’s bid to combat slow play.

Earlier this year, the European Tour experimented with a shot clock on one hole at the GolfSixes event and the concept will now be used for the first time at a European Tour tournament at the Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg from June 7-10.

However, in a marked difference to the GolfSixes model, this tournament will embrace the Tour’s official timing policy over 72 holes, with an intent to showcase a European Tour event played at a more compelling pace.  

In accordance with this official policy, each player in the 120-man field will have 50 seconds for the first player in a group to play any given shot, and 40 seconds for subsequent players. Players will incur a one-shot penalty for each time breach and these will be shown as a red card against their name on the leaderboard.

Each player will have the right to call two ‘time-outs’ during a round which will permit them twice the usually allotted time to play the shot. The European Tour said it hopes the move will cut round times by around 45 minutes, reducing three-ball timings to approximately four hours, and two-balls to around three hours 15 minutes.

Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, said: “The 2018 Shot Clock Masters will be a fascinating addition to our schedule next year. Not only will it help us combat slow play and reduce round times, it is also further evidence of our desire to embrace innovation.”

Ali A. Al-Khaffaf, director of Golf Open Event, added: “For the on-site viewers and for those at home in front of the TV screens, it will be an additional tool that will make golf even more interesting and faster. With this innovation we will make history.”