THE European Tour officials are certainly wanting to get their message across when it comes to slow play, writes Nick Rodger.

Not only are they introducing a shot clock to next season’s Austrian Open in an effort to speed up the pace of play, they are hammering home the point by re-branding the entire tournament The Shot Clock Masters.

While that title may be a trifle crass – they may as well have an additional feature where the slow coaches are put in stocks and pelted with wet sponges – the purpose of the event is laudable at a time when all and sundry are up in arms about the time golf takes on the tours.

As mentioned in this section a couple of weeks ago, The Shot Clock Masters in June will be the first tournament in professional golf to implement a restriction on every shot, with players facing a one-shot penalty for failing to play in time.

Each group will have 50 seconds for the first player to play any given shot, and 40 seconds for subsequent players.

A one-shot penalty will be issued for each bad time incurred, with each player given two time-outs per round which will double their allotted time.

The concept was trialled by the tour on a single hole at the GolfSixes earlier this year, and will now be rolled out over an entire 72-hole strokeplay event for the first time at the Diamond Country Club.

It is hoped the move will cut round times by around 45 minutes, reducing three-ball timings to approximately four hours, and two-balls to around three hours 15 minutes.

Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s chief executive and a man who is never afraid to experiment with new ideas, said: “The 2018 Shot Clock Masters will be a fascinating addition to our schedule next year.

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

Colin Montgomerie, always one to harrumph at snail-like progress, took to social media to express his delight at the drive.

“After 30 years a deterrent that will work,” he said. “Pace of play has been determined by the slowest player for too long.”