Primer: Shot Clock Masters

The European Tour moves from Italy to Austria for the debut of the Shot Clock Masters, the first professional golf tour event to use a timer on every shot.

The concept is part of an organized effort by the Tour to combat slow play, and follows an experiment with a shot clock at the GolfSixes event in 2017.

Credit: Getty Images/Andrew Reddington

This tournament, however, will use the Tour’s official timing policy over 72 holes.

“The 2018 Shot Clock Masters will be a fascinating addition to our schedule next year,” said Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour.

“Not only will it help us combat slow play and reduce round times, it is also further evidence of our desire to embrace innovation.”


THE SKINNY

Tournament: Shot Clock Masters
Dates: June 7-10, 2018
Where: Atzenbrugg, Austria
Course: Diamond Country Club
Distance: Par 72, 7,458 yards
Architect: Jeremy Pern
Format: 72-holes, stroke play, 36-hole cut, shot clock
Purse: €1,000,000
Defending Champion: Dylan Frittelli*
* No shot clock


FORMAT EXPLAINER

Credit: Getty Images/Matthew Lewis

1. Time Allowance
Players will be given between 40 and 50 seconds, depending on the shot. Rule of thumb: the more strategic the shot, the longer the time. For instance, a tree shot on a par 4 or 5 is allowed 40 seconds, whereas an approach shot (including par 3 tee shots) are allowed 50 seconds, and so on.

First Player Tee Shot (Par 4 and 5): 40 seconds
2nd/3rd Player Tee Shot (Par 4 and 5): 40 seconds
First Player Tee shot (Par 3): 50 seconds
2nd/3rd Player Tee Shot (Par 3): 40 seconds
First Player Approach Shot: 50 seconds
2nd/3rd Player Approach Shot: 50 seconds
First Player Chip Shot: 50 seconds
2nd/3rd Player Chip Shot: 40 seconds
First Player Putt: 50 seconds
2nd/3rd Player Putt: 40 seconds

2. Penalty
Every player will be timed on every shot, and on each occasion that a player fails to hit his shot within the time limits, a one-shot penalty will be added to his score for that hole.

3. Time Extensions
Each player will be allotted two “time-extensions” per round, which allows an extra 40 seconds to play the shot in question.

4. The Technology
A digital clock mounted on a golf cart will travel with each group and will be accompanied by a referee who will be responsible for operating the clock and determining when to start the clock for each shot. The clock will be controlled by an iPad using a bespoke app.


TV AND ONLINE

Round 1: Thu 4:30-6:30 am (GOLF)
Round 2: Fri 4:30-6:30 am (GOLF)
Round 3: Sat 7:30-11:00 am (GOLF)
Round 4: Sun 7:30-11:00 am (GOLF)
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HISTORY

Debuting in 1990 as the Austrian Open, the tournament’s inaugural winner was Germany’s Bernhard Langer, who edged American Lanny Wadkins in a playoff.

Credit: Getty Images/Stephen Munday

The tournament was contested as a European Tour event for the first seven editions, but due to sponsorship struggles, the event was demoted to the Challenge Tour in 1997.

It returned to the main tour in 2006 season, and since 2010 the tournament has been hosted by Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, Lower Austria, just west of Vienna.

In addition to Langer, past winners include Irishman Paul McGinley, Germany’s Alex Čejka, hometown hero Bernd Wiesberger, South African Dylan Frittelli, Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Dutchman Joost Luiten, and Englishman Chris Wood.

TOURNAMENT NAMES

2018 Shot Clock Masters
2017 Lyoness Open powered by Organic+
2016 Lyoness Open powered by Sporthilfe Cashback Card
2012-15 Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity
2009-11 Austrian Golf Open
2008 Bank Austria GolfOpen presented by Telekom Austria
2006-07 BA-CA Golf Open presented by Telekom Austria
2003-05 BA-CA Golf Open presented by Telekom Austria
2002 Austrian Golf Open
2001 Austrian Open
2000 No tournament
1998-99 Diners Club Austrian Open
1997 Matchmaker Austrian Open
1994-96 Hohe Brücke Open
1993 Hohe Brücke Austrian Open
1992 Mitsubishi Austrian Open
1991 Mitsubishi Austrian Open sponsored by Denzel
1990 Austrian Open

RECENT WINNERS

2017 Dylan Frittelli (-14)
2016 Wu Ashun (-13)
2015 Chris Wood (-15)
2014 Mikael Lundberg (-12)
2013 Joost Luiten (-17)
2012 Bernd Wiesberger (-19)
2011 Kenneth Ferrie (-12)
2010 José Manuel Lara (-17)
2009 Rafael Cabrera-Bello (-20)

TOURNAMENT RECORDS

SCORING
264 (−20) Rafael Cabrera-Bello (2009)
WINS
3 – Markus Brier (2002, 2004, 2006)
2 – Mark Davis (1991, 1994)


THE FIELD

As one would expect the week prior to the U.S. Open, the field in Austria is extremely weak. Not one player in the field is ranked inside the top 100 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Australian Wade Ormsby, at No. 132, is the top-ranked player in the field, with David Horsey (158), Nicolas Colsaerts (160), and Soren Kjeldsen are the only other players listed in the top 200.

Credit: Getty Images/Matthew Lewis

In fact, because of the lack of elite talent, 54-year old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimemez is one of the favorites in Austria at 20-1.

Other (somewhat) familiar names include American Chase Koepka, Mikko Korhonen of Finland, Englishman Lee Slattery (who finished third last week in Italy), and Aussie Adam Bland.

FULL FIELD & ODDS

Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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