Guan Tianlang, the14-year-old Chinese golfer and the youngest competitor to ever play in the Masters, was assessed a one-stroke penalty for slow play in Friday's second round. The Masters follows the Rules of Golf as written by the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient. Like all tournament committees the Masters can supplement those with local rules. Below is the Masters' version:
PACE OF PLAY POLICY
Rule 6-7 states, in part: "The player must play without undue delay and in accordance with any pace of play guidelines that the Committee may establish. Between completion of a hole and playing from the next teeing ground, the player must not unduly delay play." Thereafter, Rule 6-7 prescribes penalties for slow play.
In order to prevent any such penalties, we ask that you review carefully the following guidelines that have been established in accordance with Rule 6-7.
When play is in groups of 3, groups will be expected to play at no more than a four hour and 38 minute pace for the 18-hole round. When play is in groups of 2, groups will be expected to play at no more than a four hour and 1 minute pace for the 18-hole round. See attached time chart.
DEFINITION OF OUT OF POSITION
The first group to start will be considered out of position if, at any time during the round, they exceed the allotted time to play as detailed on the attached Pace of Play Time Chart.
Any subsequent group will be considered out of position if, at any time during the round, the (a) exceed the allotted time to play and (b) reach a par-3 hole that is open and free to play or reach a par-4 or par-5 hole and all players in the group have not played a stroke from the teeing ground before the hole is open and free of play. Both (a) and (b) must apply for a group to be out of position.
NOTE: A player or caddie is permitted at any time to inquire of a Rules Official how his group is doing relative to the Pace of Play Policy.
When the Committee determines that a group or an individual is out of position and will be timed, the players in that group or the specific individual will be informed by a Rules Rover of such timing.
Other than on the putting green, the timing of a player's stroke will begin when it is his turn to play and he can play without interference or distraction. Time spent determining yardage will count as time taken for the next stroke.
On the putting green, timing will begin after a player has been allowed a reasonable amount of time to mark, lift, clean and replace his ball, repair his ball mark and other ball marks on his line of putt and remove loose impediments on his line of putt. Time spent looking at the line of putt from beyond the hole and/or behind the ball, will count as part of the time taken for the next stroke.
A player is permitted 40 seconds to play a stroke. This 40 second time limit includes the first to play from the teeing ground, from the fairway and from around and on the putting green. Any player being timed, who exceeds the allowed time to play a stroke, will be informed by a Rules Rover of that breach as soon as practicable.
NOTE: The Committee reserves the right, at any time, to time a group when the Committee deems necessary. Further, if a player is determined by the Committee to be unreasonably slow, he may be timed individually at the Committee's discretion regardless of whether his group is out of position. Players should also be aware that the Committee may assess a "bad time" to a player in a group which is out of position if the player makes no effort to help his group get back in position. Examples of this would be a player who unduly delays play between shots or holes.
PACE OF PLAY PENALTIES
The following are the penalties, in sequence, for any player in a group being timed who takes more than the allotted time to play a stroke after timing of the player's stroke begins:
One timing exceeding the allotted time to play a stroke — no penalty (warning)
A second timing exceeding the allotted time to play a stroke — 1 stroke penalty
A third timing exceeding the allotted time to play a stroke — additional 2 stroke penalty
A fourth timing exceeding the allotted time to play a stroke — disqualification
NOTE: If a group being timed regains its position, any previous timing exceeding the allotted time to play will be carried over throughout the round.
RULINGS OR OTHER INCIDENTS
If a ruling or some other legitimate delay occurs, which causes the group in question to lose its position, that group is expected to regain its position within in reasonable time.
We sincerely request your cooperation. If everyone will cooperate, the Tournament will be a more pleasant experience for all the players and our Tournament patrons.