If you want to play in the TGL, it’s best to play quickly.
The semi-virtual Monday night golf league created by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s TMRW Sports announced three new features to its competition on Monday, essentially straight from the gridiron and other team sports.
Most intriguingly, TGL competitors will operate on a 40-second shot clock, which is likely the first time many of the 24 pros will be under pressure to take a swing.
The league also announced the implementation of timeouts and referees for its games played at the SoFi Center, a 250,000-square-foot stadium at Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The venue features a huge screen and real grass areas are used for simulated shots, but players then move to a 3,800 square meter green complex for shots within 50 yards.
A 15-hole, “triples” and “singles” format was also introduced last week.
Click here for more details on Monday’s shot clock, referee and timeout announcements.
You’re on the clock all the time
A shot clock is not entirely new in professional golf. The DP World Tour ran the 2018 Austrian Open as Shot Clock Masters with 40 and 50 second shot clocks and received rave reviews. Unfortunately this has not been done since then.
Technically, golf has a time limit on how long it takes to play a shot. Rule 5.6b states: “When it is your turn, it is recommended that you take the shot within a maximum of 40 seconds after you are able to play without interference or distraction.”
In rare cases, golfers are penalized under this rule, and it usually occurs only after a warning. With the TGL’s new 40-second shot clock, there will be no preemptive heads-up.
If you receive a shock clock violation, you will receive a one-time penalty, no ifs, or buts.
The TGL said the 40-second number was determined based on the current USGA recommendation.
There are five circumstances that cause the shot clock to stop and reset: a player has completed his turn, a player commits a shot clock violation and receives a one-shot penalty, a timeout, a penalty, or a special circumstance, which is determined by the game clock referee and stand official.
Each TGL team receives four timeouts per game to avoid shot clock violations. Like football, these timeouts are divided, two for the three-player alternating “triples” session and two for the one-on-one “singles” session. You will also use it or lose it, as unused timeouts from the first session do not carry over to the second session.
If there were timeouts in real golf, would Zach Johnson have used one with Jordan Spieth at the Ryder Cup on Saturday afternoon? Hard to say.
Any member of a team may either signal or verbally call a time-out to the referee, who will confirm this. The team taking a shot may call a timeout at any time before the shot clock expires, but the opposing team can only do so before the other team’s player has addressed the ball. Teams also cannot call multiple timeouts for the same shot.
Goodbye rules officials, hello referees
Instead of a “rules official,” players will be assisted in the arena by a referee with “experience with timeouts, shot clocks and the dynamics of team sports.” Does this mean that some of the big-name NFL or NBA referees are flagging shot clock violations to PGA Tour pros? We will see.
The league also said it will have a “ranking officer” who is an “expert in the rules of golf.” The TGL’s rules will be “based on the traditional rules of golf,” but there will also be specific local rules to reflect the league’s unique format and venue. TGL has not announced any of these local rules.
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