The European Tour is taking extensive measures to speed up its pace of play, unveiling a four-point plan that's set to take effect next season, it announced Monday, according to Golfweek's Alistair Tait.
Under the new rules, players will be handed a one-shot penalty after receiving two pace infractions. Currently, the European Tour waits until three strikes before handing out a one-shot penalty. Fines for consistently slow players will also increase significantly. For example, if a player goes over their time on 15 occasions in 2020, they will have to pay £26,000 (about $31,480) in fines compared to £9,000 ($10,890) this season.
A referee will be assigned to all new members of the European Tour to emphasize the new policy. Existing members will be forced to take an online rules test every three years.
As a trial run, a pace-of-play system with on-tee display boards that informs players of where they are in relation to the group in front of them will be used at the BMW PGA Championship in September.
The European Tour will also be reducing its field sizes by 12 players (from 156 to 144) and will introduce larger starting intervals on Saturdays and Sundays.
"We are already at the forefront of pace-of-play management in the professional game, but after being mandated by our tournament committee to be even firmer in dealing with this issue, the time was right to take these additional steps," European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said.
"I believe the plan we are implementing for the 2020 season will bring about meaningful change that will make golf even more enjoyable for the players and our fans, whether they are at the course in person or watching on television."
Meanwhile, pace of play has been a hot topic on the PGA Tour of late. Most notably, Bryson DeChambeau, a physics major who takes a very calculated approach to the game, was criticized for taking more than two minutes to hit an 8-foot putt, which he missed. J.B. Holmes has also drawn the ire of the golf world for his slow pace.