PGA TOUR announce big changes to pace-of-play policy

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The PGA Tour announce two major changes to existing slow-play policy that will go in to effect at the RBC Heritage in April

The PGA Tour have followed the European Tour's slow play announcement with one of their own today, confirming major enhancements to its existing slow-play policy.

And while the European Tour's new policy begins this week in Abu Dhabi, the PGA Tour will see theirs go into effect at the RBC Heritage in mid-April, the week following the Masters. 

Two key changes make up this new policy, with the introduction of an 'Observation List' to identify slow players, and 'Excessive Shot Times' - which will bring about a shot penalty for a second bad time in a tournament (not just a round) and for every bad time therafter. Fines have also been raised. 

The announcement is similar to the European Tour's, who will also penalise players with a stroke penalty for a second bad time in a tournament. 

The Observation List

Historically, the slow-play policy has focused on groups being out of position. The Observation List will put additional focus on individuals whom ShotLink data has identified as the most egregiously slow players. Those players will go on and off the list based on a 10-tournament rolling period and will be subject to a 60-second average for all shots. If observed by a Rules Official to exceed this time, that player will be timed individually even if the group is in position.

The list will not be made public, but players on the list will be notified that they are on it on a weekly basis. The goal, PGA TOUR Chief of Operations Tyler Dennis said, is for the TOUR to help them change their habits.

Excessive Shot Times

Anyone in the field who takes more than 120 seconds to play a single shot, absent a good reason for doing so, will be given an Excessive Shot Time.

Additionally, fines and penalties for slow play have been enhanced significantly. Officials will now assess a one-stroke penalty for the second bad time in a tournament, not a round, and for every bad time thereafter in the same tournament. The fines for the second bad time in a season and for 10 cumulative timings in a season have also been raised to $50,000.

The fine for a second bad time in a season currently is $5,000.

Rules officials will implement the policy in part by using an app to monitor player times.