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European Tour announces new measures to tighten up on slow play

James Corrigan
Bryson DeChambeau found himself in hot water recently over his slow play - AP

The European Tour has re-emphasised its desire to go where its US counterparts dare not tread and to root out those snail-paced professionals who are making the sport so difficult fully to enjoy for viewers nowadays.

Certainly Bryson DeChambeau might find it uncomfortable if and when he returns to Dubai in January to defend the Desert Classic. By then, the European Tour will have implemented its four-point plan to tackle the slow-play scourge and the American should not be able to stage a repeat of the farce two weeks ago, that saw the American first pacing out a 70-yard shot and then taking more than two minutes to execute an eight-foot putt.

From next season, two bad times in a round on the European Tour will immediately incur a one-stroke penalty, while players consistently timed will face stiffer fines. For example, a pro who is put on the clock 15 times during a campaign will now be fined £26,000, instead of £9,000.

Players will also have to pass a test on pace-of-play rules as condition of membership and fields will be reduced from 156 to a minimum of 144 to allow referees more space to monitor groups over the first two rounds.

It will be intriguing to see if and how the PGA Tour responds. In the wake of the DeChambeau controversy two weeks’ ago, the US circuit announced it would review its policy, with names such as Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy criticising the tour's inaction to enforce the rules. The last individual to be hit with a shot penalty in a regular PGA Tour event was Glen Day - in 1995.

Meanwhile, Essex’s 16-year-old Conor Gough will become the second youngest player ever to appear in a Walker Cup after being name in the Great Britain & Ireland side to face the US at Hoylake next month.

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