Johnson backs 'very interesting' shot clock

Johnson backs 'very interesting' shot clock

SHANGHAI – Agence France-Presse
Johnson backs very interesting shot clock

World number one Dustin Johnson threw his weight on Oct. 25 behind a European Tour initiative to try out a shot clock to speed up play, calling it "very interesting."

Time will be of the essence at next year's Austrian Open when penalties will be imposed on players exceeding a stopwatch on each shot, European golf's ruling body the EPGA said this week.

The June tournament, to be renamed The Shot Clock Masters, will be the first time in history that golfers have a time limit on each shot. Failure to keep to it will see them penalized a shot.

It is hoped the move will reduce round times by 45 minutes and the American Johnson is all in favor.

"I think it would be very interesting, you'd see a lot of guys getting penalties on our [U.S. PGA] Tour," the 33-year-old said ahead of the WGC-HSBC Champions, which tees off in Shanghai on Oct. 26.

"That would be quite fun, actually. I'd have plenty of time but there's a lot of guys that wouldn't.

"They would be getting a penalty on every hole."

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

Players will get two time-outs per round which will double their allotted time.

Sweden's world number nine Henrik Stenson also likes the idea and said he will be watching how it unfolds in Austria.

"It's obviously a different thing, you have a difficult shot and you want to take that bit of extra time, you're not going to have that," he said in Shanghai, where he was runner-up last year.

"I'm sure it will get the kind of stress levels up a little bit on the players that are playing in that event."