Big changes are coming to slow play enforcement and monitoring on the PGA Tour. The Tour is set to reveal an updated Pace of Play Policy this week with a clear, new strategy: a shift in focus from groups of players to the slowest players on Tour.
In a press release previewing the changes, the Tour states that while the current Pace of Play Policy is “designed to address issues with pace when a group falls behind,” the new policy for 2020 will “focus on changing the individual habits of the slowest players.”
One way they plan to achieve this goal is with the creation of a new “Observation list.” Players will be added to the Observation List by using historical data to “identify the slowest players on Tour.” The golfers placed on the list will be “subject to a timing limit for all shots, even when their group is in position.”
The Observation List will be updated weekly, and ShotLink data won’t be the only way to identify slow players. The Tour will also create a new “Excessive Shot Time” violation: “If a player is observed by an official to take an excessive amount of time on a shot in the absence of a good reason for doing so, he will be given an Excessive Shot Time.”
Any player who receives two “Excessive Shot Times” in a single tournament will be placed on the Observation List for the rest of the event.
There will be no change to the amount of time a player is permitted to hit a shot in groups, which will remain at 40 seconds, plus an additional 10 seconds for “first to play” situations. But any player who receives a bad time, whether on the Observation List or not, will receive a warning, followed by a one-stroke penalty for each additional bad time.
With the new policy, it’s clear the Tour is getting serious about persistent slow play problems. Whether or not it will work or satisfy fans, especially in light of recent high-profile pace of play controversies, remains to be seen.
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