Westwood backs new slow play policy

Lee Westwood

An enforced shot clock will be trialled at the Austrian Open next year, and European Tour stalwart Lee Westwood has welcomed the move.

It will be the first time that such a move is tested to tackle slow play.

The Daily Mail reports that golfers will receive a penalty stroke if they take longer than 40 seconds over their shots, although they will receive an initial warning before being penalised. A player could potentially receive several penalty strokes if they continue to take too long to complete their shots.

A referee will be assigned to walk around the course with every group and time every shot.

It is hoped the new measure could help speed up a round by as much as 40 minutes.

If successful, the policy could be enforced across the professional game.

“The idea was floated at a players’ meeting on Tuesday night and it received unanimous support,” one official was quoted as saying.

Former World No 1 Westwood has welcomed the move, saying: “What a brilliant idea and long overdue.”

And Westwood’s Ryder Cup team-mate Andy Sullivan also voiced his approval.

“It underlines how long 40 seconds is to play a shot and how ridiculous it is that rounds take so long,” he said. “The sooner it’s introduced on tour, the better.”