European Tour introduces 4-point plan to tackle slow play

Gavin Green of Malaysia lines up his putt during the second day of the CIMB Classic golf tournament at Tournament Players Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2017.(Sadiq Asyraf/AP)

VIRGINIA WATER, England — The European Tour has announced a four-point plan to crack down on slow play in golf.

Starting in the 2020 season, players will be handed a one-shot penalty if they breach time allowances twice in a round. The tour says there will be "significantly increased fines" for players who are on the clock.

Players will have to pass an interactive test on pace-of-play rules as part of their conditions of membership.

A pace-of-play timing system will be tested at next month’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the European Tour’s flagship event, including on-tee displays showing players their position in relation to the group in front.

Field sizes at events also will be reduced from 156 to a minimum of 144 to give referees better space to monitor groups over the first two rounds. Larger starting intervals will be built into play on weekend rounds to create a better flow between groups.

The plan was announced on Monday.

Keith Pelley, the tour’s chief executive, says the new proposals "will bring about meaningful change that will make golf even more enjoyable for the players and our fans."

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