Tour adjusts pace-of-play policy, reduces conditional opportunities

Tour adjusts pace-of-play policy, reduces conditional opportunities
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The year’s final meeting of the PGA Tour policy board on Monday was focused primarily on the circuit’s ongoing negotiations with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and other financial suitors, but the board also approved various changes that will have a more immediate impact on players.

The “Tournament Competition matters” covered everything from an adjustment to the Tour’s pace-of-play policy to changes in how players with conditional status are categorized, according to a memo sent to players early Tuesday by commissioner Jay Monahan.

The pace-of-play policy was adjusted to account for variations between tournaments like weather and golf course difficulty by creation of an “average stroke time” instead of the “observation list” that had been used.

“At the conclusion of a tournament a player’s average stroke time is compared against the field average. For a given tournament, if a player has an average stroke time of 7.0 seconds or more above the field average, he has recorded an average stroke time [AST] infraction,” the new policy reads.

Ten average-stroke-time infractions during a single season would be a $20,000 fine with additional fines for continued violations.

The changes to the conditional status categories were prompted by the move to a calendar year schedule next season and the addition of more signature events.

“Under the new schedule model in 2024, access for conditional categories is projected to be more limited,” the policy reads, citing an estimated 10-percent reduction in playing opportunities next year.

Players in various conditional categories – those who finished 126th to 150th on the previous season’s points list, past champions, veteran members, etc. – will now be included in a single reshuffle throughout the year based on current season performance. Previously those groups were periodically reshuffled within their own categories.

“The [player advisory council] discussed the merits of protecting conditional players within their category, but ultimately comments favored rewarding those players playing best in the current season,” the policy reads.

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