Last month saw the second GolfSixes tournament combining numerous themes on every hole and the inaugural Belgian Knockout combining stroke-play with elimination rounds. And this week the European Tour are innovating the game again with the Shot Clock Masters tightening the screw on slow play.
Coming from Diamond Country Club in Austria, players will be under the microscope with every shot. The first player to hit in a group will be given 50 seconds to play and all subsequent players will have 40 seconds.
Any failure to comply with the time limit will result in a one-shot penalty for every breach, across all 72 holes of the event.
Of course, 40-50 seconds isn’t enough to plot out a pin-point flop shot, a low running hook out the trees or a triple-breaking 100-foot putt. So there is some potential respite from the clock for the field; players will get to call two ‘time-outs’ per round which will double their time limit for that particular shot.
It’s a timely tournament given the success of the shot clock at GolfSixes and the European Tour’s recent commitment to speed the professional game up. Just over a year ago the tour modified their pace of play policy to pressure players into faster play and the first time-restricted tournament in golf history this week only furthers that commitment.
120 of the European Tour’s leading stars will be a part of it at the former Lyoness Open host course Diamond Country Club, teeing off on Thursday morning.