ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – When Keith Pelley took over as the chief executive officer of the European Tour last year he promised to take on slow play in professional golf.
On Wednesday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Pelley unveiled a new policy that may not be the answer to slow play but certainly is an interesting start.
Under the new policy, which was approved on Tuesday at a players-only meeting, “monitoring” will begin as soon as a group has been deemed out of position.
Any player who then exceeds the time permitted for a stroke, 40 seconds and an additional 10 seconds for those who play first, will be issued a “monitoring penalty.”
Two monitoring penalties in a single round will result in a fine (about $2,800) and fines will double with each successive penalty.
“Our goal is to knock 15 minutes off rounds,” Pelley said. “The reaction from players has been extremely positive.”
The key difference of the new policy, however, is the ability of officials to distinguish between a group that has dropped out of position and a single slow player, according to John Paramor, the European Tour’s chief rules official.
Any player who takes twice the allotted amount of time to play a shot (80 seconds or 100 seconds if they play first), will be assessed a monitoring penalty whether his group is out of position or not.
Unlike the PGA Tour, Pelley said slow play fines will be made public and he added that the new initiative is a “first step.”