Last October, the European Tour announced it would implement a 40-second shot clock at the Austrian Open.
Well, the Austrain Open takes place this week and I absolutely love the idea.
Each player gets 40 seconds to hit a shot (50 seconds if he is first to play the approach, chip or a putt). Players will get a one-shot penalty for each bad time. Each player has two time extensions he can use to take twice the time allowed for that shot.
Hopefully, this is an experiment that goes well and is adopted universally. It would save a lot of time, a lot of aggravation and make the game far more enjoyable to play and watch.
Here are five reasons -- a couple admittedly tongue in cheek -- that a shot clock could be a good thing for golf:
5. There will be incentive to be ready to hit your shot. Golf has too many slowpokes. They play at a glacial pace that throws off the rhythm for the rest of the group. Forget the empty warnings. It's been said for years that nothing will stop slow play until officials start handing out penalties.
Well, with a shot clock, everything becomes cut and dry. You don't take your stroke within the allotted time? Add a stroke to your score on the hole. An official doesn't have to worry about ticking any players off.
4. It will add to the fan experience. How many times have you watched your favorite football team in a big game when the offense is running its 2-minute drill? Throughout the course of the drive, you -- as a fan -- are constantly looking at the play clock and the game clock to see if your team can get that score before time expires.
Down the stretch of a tournament, wouldn't it be cool to be sitting on your couch, watching the players in the mix and keeping tabs on where they stand with a particular shot as a shot clock winds down in the corner of your screen?
3. No more green mapping books for players and caddies. Have you seen these things that are all the rage the last couple of years? It's basically a yardage book for the green that details every nook and cranny. A majority of the best players in the game use them.
They get to the green and they look more like an insurance adjuster taking notes than a golfer who's supposed to be playing a shot. Like that USGA PSA used to say, "While we're young!"
2. Faster rounds. Have you ever heard anyone complain that golf is too fast? Neither have I. It's way too slow. Who has time for a 5-6-hour round on the weekends? Golf's supposed to be relaxing and fun. It's anything but when you're waiting 15 minutes for the group in front of you before you can play your next shot.
Shot clocks on golf courses everywhere would be tremendous. If there's a group behind you and half of your foursome doesn't get their shots off in time... you automatically must let the group behind play through.
1. Buzzer beaters. There's nothing more exciting in basketball than a good, old fashioned buzzer beater.
With a shot-clock in golf, we too can witness a buzzer beater. Imagine the scenario: To beat Player A and win the major championship being played that week, Player B needs to get up and down from a tricky spot on the final hole like Webb Simpson did in the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club.
With the clock winding down as Player B examines the shot, he quickly realizes he needs to hurry up and pull the trigger. And then, at the very last nano-second, he chips the ball to tap-in range. He kicks in the putt and wins the major -- just in the nick of time.
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