The 2018 Shot Clock Masters, played in Austria, is a new tournament with a unique format for the European Tour, marking the first time the European Tour has put on a stroke-play event with a shot clock for each player in the field on each hole played.
The Shot Clock Masters format is that of a traditional European Tour event. It’s a 72-hole stroke-play affair with a 36-hole cut to the top 70 and ties. The winner will be the player who posts the fewest total strokes.
However, here’s the twist.
Each player in the 120-man field will be timed on every shot. Each player will have 50 seconds if they’re the first player in a group to play any given shot (tee shot, approach, shot around the green, putt) and 40 seconds for subsequent players. These times are consistent with the European Tour’s rules for its players that often go unenforced at events.
If a player takes longer than the allotted time for a given shot, they’ll incur a one-shot penalty. On the leaderboard, a red card will appear alongside their name as a kind of scarlet letter to let fans know a particular player is slow.
Each player will have the right to call two timeouts per round to allot them double their given time for a shot, meaning being the first-to-play slot would get 100 seconds (1 minute, 40 seconds) and, at other times, the time bank would increase to 80 seconds (1 minute, 20 seconds).
The European Tour is hoping this experimental event will cut round times by 45 minutes, meaning three-ball groups will play in approximately 4 hours, and twosomes will complete 18 holes in 3 hours, 15 minutes.
At the end of the tournament, all of the golf strokes and penalty strokes from time and other rules infractions will add up, and then we’ll find out a winner.