Golfers will incur a one-shot penalty if they breach time allowances twice in a round from next season under new regulations introduced by the European Tour.

The issue of slow play has been a hot topic in the sport of late, with Bryson DeChambeau's overly methodical approach at The Northern Trust last weekend a target for particular ire.

What action the PGA Tour chooses to take on the matter will now be a source of intrigue after its European counterparts announced a four-point plan focusing on the areas of "regulation, education, innovation and field sizes".

Fines for players persistently identified as needing to be timed – known as being "on the clock" – will increase from November this year on the tour. At present, 15 timing offenses brings a £9,000 fine but that will rise to £26,000.

At next month's BMW PGA Championship, the new Pace of Play timing system will be trialled.

A statement from the European Tour read: "When players are out of position and either being monitored or timed, a one-shot penalty will be incurred after two bad times – currently a player would be 'monitored' and if he breaches the time allowance (50 seconds for first to play, 40 seconds for second or third to play) he will then be 'officially timed' and would then have to breach twice more before being given a one shot penalty.

"Players will, however, have the option to request one time extension per round, giving an additional 40 seconds to hit a shot on this request."

The tour will also seek to cut field sizes where possible to encourage quicker play, while referees are to be encouraged to target slow players when it comes to being in position.

Players will have to pass an interactive rules test as part of their conditions of membership.

Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, said: "We are already at the forefront of pace of play management in the professional game, but after being mandated by our Tournament Committee to be even firmer in dealing with this issue, the time was right to take these additional steps.

"I believe the plan we are implementing for the 2020 season will bring about meaningful change that will make golf even more enjoyable for the players and our fans, whether they are at the course in person or watching on television."

Tiger Woods will have to make do with watching the Tour Championship on television after he failed to qualify for the PGA Tour's season-ending event.

Woods needed to finish 11th or better at the BMW Championship to make sure he would be inside the top 30 in the FedExCup points table, guaranteeing a place in the field for next week's finale.

However, successive one-under rounds left him with too much work to do over the weekend, meaning he will not be able to defend his title at East Lake.

The 15-time major winner ended a five-year wait for a tournament win at last year's Tour Championship having at one stage slipped to as low as 1,199 in the world rankings.

"Last year culminated in a pretty special moment for me and would've been nice to go back there, but I'll be watching the guys on TV," Woods said after his final round at Medinah, a course where he has twice won majors.

Woods had given himself hope of keeping his 2019 season alive with a 67 in the third round, only to finish up on in a tie for 37th on six under after signing for a score of 72 on Sunday.

"It was a little bit frustrating that I didn't have the short game I needed to make a run," he said. "I made too many bogeys around the greens.

"I had it two under par early and was giving myself at least an outside chance of getting to my number. I felt like if I shot six under then I might have moved on."

Despite having to watch the Tour Championship from afar, Woods was able to reflect positively on a year that saw him win the Masters at Augusta.

"[It was] very special to win my 15th major and get my fifth jacket," he told the PGA Tour. "The rest of the tournaments I didn't really play as well as I wanted to, but at the end of the day, I'm the one with the green jacket."

Justin Thomas will take a two-stroke lead into the Tour Championship at East Lake after the format change for the season-ending tournament.

Thomas claimed a three-shot win at the BMW Championship on Sunday, moving top of the FedEx Cup standings.

Instead of a points reset for the Tour Championship, players will start on different scores – with Thomas top of the leaderboard before the event begins on Thursday.

Here is what the leaderboard looks like after the BMW Championship, featuring all 30 players who qualified.

-10: Justin Thomas
-8: Patrick Cantlay
-7: Brooks Koepka
-6: Patrick Reed
-5: Rory McIlroy

Top 5 in the #FedExCup heading into @EastLakeGC:

1. @JustinThomas34 
2. Patrick Cantlay
3. @BKoepka
4. @PReedGolf
5. @McIlroyRory  pic.twitter.com/8SjEvALxfh

— TOUR Championship (@playofffinale) August 18, 2019 -4: Jon Rahm, Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Abraham Ancer
-3: Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama
-2: Paul Casey, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Rickie Fowler, Kevin Kisner
-1: Marc Leishman, Tommy Fleetwood, Corey Conners, Im Sung-jae, Chez Reavie
E: Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen, Charles Howell III, Lucas Glover, Jason Kokrak

Justin Thomas closed out his first win of the year with a three-stroke victory at the BMW Championship on Sunday.

Thomas made waves at Medinah with his record-breaking round – a 61 – on Saturday and the American backed it up.

The 2017 US PGA Championship winner carded a four-under 68 in the final round to get to 25 under, winning the tournament and moving top of the FedEx Cup standings heading into the Tour Championship.

The win was Thomas' 10th career PGA Tour title and it came with some impressive shots.

He had a string of birdies through his back nine, four through his last eight holes, to help keep the rest of the field at bay.

Thomas held off a red-hot Patrick Cantlay and Hideki Matsuyama, who both matched or shot their lowest rounds of the week.

Cantlay finished solo second (22 under) after nine birdies helped him to a seven-under 65. He was mere inches away from putting even more pressure on Thomas but just missed an eagle putt after driving the 15th green.

Matsuyama had the lowest round of the day with a 63 to jump into third place at 20 under. The 36-hole leader had set the previous record at Medinah before Thomas broke it on Saturday, and got back to form on Sunday.

He was mistake-free through the front nine with five birdies and matched that after the turn. However, a bogey on the par-four 16th stopped Matsuyama from besting his low round of the week.

Tony Finau finished in fourth place at 18 under while Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker tied for fifth at 16 under.

Corey Conners and Lucas Glover both placed seventh at 15 under and Adam Scott and Kevin Kisner rounded out the top finishers in a tie for ninth at 14 under.

Thomas Pieters became the first player to win the Czech Masters twice after securing a one-shot triumph in Prague on Sunday.

Having claimed the lead with an impressive third round of 66, the Belgian held his nerve at the top of the leaderboard to repeat his success at the same tournament four years ago.

Pieters carded four birdies on the front nine and produced some key par saves coming home to finish on 19 under, one stroke ahead of Adri Arnaus.

While it is a fourth European Tour title, this is his first since 2016, when he was victorious at the Made in Denmark on the way to earning a captain's pick for Darren Clarke's Ryder Cup squad that lost to the United States at Hazeltine.

"I'm relieved. It's been a long time – it's been three years since I last won," Pieters told the European Tour website.

"It feels good to win again. I never doubted myself but it's just been a long road of not feeling that great with the golf swing. It feels good to get back on track again and get another win."

Spaniard Arnaus finished alone in second place after matching Pieters' 69, while 2018 champion Andrea Pavan signed for a 65 to earn a share of third place, joining Sam Horsfield on 16 under.

Midway leader Edoardo Molinari failed to mount a challenge, however, as the Italian carded a three-over 75 that included three bogeys after the turn.

As far as excuses go for potentially missing a tee-off time, Phil Mickelson's reason for the fourth round of the BMW Championship was pretty fair.

The five-time major winner was facing the prospect of missing his allotted slot of 11:52am local time at Medinah on Sunday after the hotel he has been staying at was struck by lightning.

That caused a fire at the establishment and an evacuation of the building, leading Mickelson to ponder whether he would make it on time as he was without his clubs.

"How's this for crazy? My hotel was struck by lightning, I was on [the] top floor, we were evacuated and the place is on fire (only thing of mine on fire this week)," Mickelson tweeted.

"I can't get back into my room and may miss my tee time because I am without clubs and clothes."

Fortunately, emergency services were swiftly on the scene and Mickelson confirmed his belongings had been salvaged safely meaning he was scheduled to play.

"EMT's were awesome! I'm going to make it. Turns out my clubs acted as a fire retardant. Lucky me."

Earlier on Sunday, the BMW Championship's official Twitter account had issued a weather update to fans amid storms in the Chicago area.

Sunday's round will likely be Mickelson's final of the season due to his projected standing of 49th in the FedExCup rankings.

Justin Thomas set a new course record in the third round as he stormed to the top of the BMW Championship leaderboard.

Thomas carded an 11-under-par 61 to shatter the record at Medinah Country Club for a commanding six-stroke lead on Saturday.

Hideki Matsuyama had set the record on Friday, but his feat was eclipsed by 2017 FedEx Cup champion Thomas – who stole the show with two eagles and eight birdies.

Thomas birdied his opening five holes and had six through his first eight, before adding another two and a pair of eagles on the back nine.

The American is set to move top of the FedEx Cup standings as things stand, with Thomas 21 under after three rounds – ahead of Tony Finau (68) and Patrick Cantlay (68).

"I just hope the trend doesn't [continue] and someone else breaks [the course record] tomorrow," he said after his stellar round.

"It's just one of those freaky days where you get in the zone. I hit the ball pretty unbelievable. I didn't really — it's not like I made any long putts, I just hit it close to the hole and took advantage of some opportunities when I had them and got a couple good breaks."

Rory Sabbatini posted a five-under-par 67 to be fourth and seven shots adrift, while Jon Rahm (66) is a stroke further back heading into Sunday's decider.

Brandt Snedeker (67) highlights a trio of golfers tied for sixth (12 under) and Rickie Fowler (68), Kevin Kisner (69), Xander Schauffele (70) and Matsuyama (73) all sit ninth.

Former world number one and 2012 champion Rory McIlroy is 11 shots behind Thomas following his third-round 70, while Tiger Woods is three shots back.

Two-time FedEx Cup champion Woods climbed the leaderboard thanks a to a bogey-free 67, which left him in a tie for 31st.

Only the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings will advance to the Tour Championship and Woods – who is the defending champion – is projected to finish 40th.

Tiger Woods needed a low number, and he got it during the third round of the BMW Championship thanks to a five-under-par 67.

After Woods, a two-time FedEx Cup champion, shot 71 in each of the first two rounds of the tournament, he was languishing towards the bottom of the pack.

At a time of the year when FedEx Cup points can make or break a season, Woods was in need of an improved performance on Saturday.

And at Medinah Course number three, Woods was finally able to put together a bogey-free round highlighted by five birdies.

Woods was hitting the ball as well as he could have, recording his ninth career bogey-free round in the FedExCup Play-offs.

Thomas Pieters will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Czech Masters after a blistering Saturday front nine in Prague.

The 2016 Ryder Cup player, who won this event in 2015, overhauled overnight leader Edoardo Molinari with a fine 66 to move to 16 under overall.

A run of four birdies in a row saw him walk off the seventh green with the outright lead and things got even better before the turn.

Despite missing a putt to extend his streak on eight, a superb second shot allowed the Belgian to tap in an eagle three at the ninth.

And he finished in style too, profiting from a sublime approach to close with another gain to move six under for the day, a stroke clear of Adri Arnaus, who went one better than him with a 65 on Saturday.

"I think the key to that front nine was the driving," Thomas told the European Tour website.

"I hit it really far and straight so that was presenting a lot of birdie opportunities and a lot of short clubs into the holes. 

"To convert the putt on nine after a wonderful six iron in was great, and it's the closest I've come to a two on a par five."

Molinari is one of four players tied for third on 14 under alongside Hugo Leon and Swedish duo Robert Karlsson and Rikard Karlberg.

Hideki Matsuyama broke a course record as he claimed a one-stroke lead after the second round at the BMW Championship.

Matsuyama sizzled at Medinah Country Club, where the Japanese carded a nine-under-par 63 to top the leaderboard on Friday.

In the second tournament of the FedEx Cup play-offs, Matsuyama was flawless with his putter – nine birdies highlighting a bogey-free round in Illinois.

Matsuyama birdied five of his opening nine holes and closed the day by gaining back-to-back shots as he improved to 12 under at the halfway stage, ahead of American pair Patrick Cantlay (67) and Tony Finau (66).

Ranked 33rd prior to the event, Matsuyama is projected to move up to second with victory and he said: "I wish I knew why I putted so well today.

"But I was happy that a lot of them went in. As they went in, you start gaining more confidence and as your confidence builds, more putts go in, too."

This was just Matsuyama's day and a statement after Justin Thomas and Jason Kokrak tied the course record of 65 in the opening round.

Thomas followed up his course-record performance with a solid 69 to be 10 under through two rounds, while Kokrak (73) dropped into a tie for 21st at six under.

Former world number one and 2012 champion Rory McIlroy posted a second-round 67 as he improved 14 positions to 11th, alongside Kevin Tway (67), Tommy Fleetwood (66) and Kevin Kisner (68) at eight under.

Four-time major winner and US PGA Championship holder Brooks Koepka is seven shots off the pace following his 71, and he is joined by Northern Trust champion Patrick Reed (71).

Star names Jordan Spieth (71), Jason Day (71) and Justin Rose (73) are tied for 40th at three under, a shot better off than Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson.

Woods – a two-time BMW Championship winner – is in serious danger of missing the trip to the Tour Championship after carding back-to-back 71s.

Only the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings will qualify and Woods is projected to finish 45th.

Edoardo Molinari led a European Tour event through 36 holes for the first time in his career after another bogey-free 66 at the Czech Masters.

Molinari, the brother of 2018 Open Championship winner Francesco, has three European Tour titles to his name but had never previously sat atop a leaderboard at the halfway stage.

However, the Italian's consistency in Prague saw him rewarded with a two-stroke lead heading into the weekend.

Molinari had a share of fourth after Thursday, having carded six birdies and no dropped shots, and he matched that display on Friday to move to 12 under.

Having had to work to regain his card in 2015 and 2016, Molinari reflected on a promising start this week, saying: "At the moment I'm very comfortable, I'm enjoying playing golf.

"I've been going through a tough few years so, at the minute, I'm just really enjoying myself on the golf course. I'm playing well so life is good at the minute."

It was Thomas Pieters, the 2015 winner, who represented Molinari's nearest rival at the end of the second round, sitting on 10 under after his bogey-free 67.

Four players were tied in third on nine under: Matthias Schwab, Sam Horsfield, Hugo Leon and Robert Karlsson.

Defending champion Andrea Pavan was among a clutch of players on eight under.

Malaysian Gavin Green, who led through 18 holes, having done likewise and finished third in the tournament a year ago, fell away spectacularly this time. He carded a three-over 75 and dropped to a share of 33rd place.

Justin Thomas carded an impressive seven-under 65 to take a share of the lead after the opening round of the BMW Championship on Thursday.

The 2017 US PGA Championship winner is atop the leaderboard alongside fellow American Jason Kokrak at Medinah Country Club, where the pair equalled the course record.

Thomas finished his day with seven birdies and no bogeys, while Kokrak dropped just one shot but added an eagle to finish his day in a tie for the lead.

A wrist injury saw Thomas struggle earlier this season, including missing the cut at the U.S. Open.

But he has been good as of late as he finished tied for 11th at The Open and in the top 12 or better in each of his past four tournaments.

"It's weird," he said, via the Golf Channel. "Yeah, I mean, it's been an odd season just because I've missed three tournaments. But the difference with this season and any other season is I'd won.

"I'm playing every bit as good as I have any other year this year, for sure."

Thomas is sitting pretty in getting to the Tour Championship at East Lake next week, starting 15th in the FedEx Cup standings and now projected to be top.

Kokrak needs a good performance after starting 32nd – with the top 30 progressing – and is now projected to be third.

A shot back of the leaders is a group of five – Jim Furyk, Joel Dahmen, Lucas Glover, Brandt Snedeker and Patrick Cantlay.

World number one Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose and Jon Rahm all opened with four-under 68s, a shot better than Rory McIlroy.

Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods need to climb the leaderboard to reach the Tour Championship.

Spieth carded a two-under 70, while Woods opened with a 71, the duo projected to be outside the top 30 in the FedEx Cup as things stand.

Gavin Green was once again quick out of the blocks at the Czech Masters after signing for an opening 64 at the Albatross Golf Resort.

The world number 215 sat in a four-way tie for top spot following the first day of the 2018 edition of the tournament, though he eventually had to settle for finishing third.

However, Green boosted his hopes of improving on that position this time around with an eight-under round on Thursday – the same score as he managed a year ago.

"I don't know what it is about this place. I think the course suits me well and it helps if you hit it a little longer and a little higher," he told the European Tour website.

"It helps to be able to stop the ball on the greens. If you get a good drive away you just have a wedge in your hand and you can take advantage of that."

The Malaysian sits on his own at the summit this time, leading by one shot from Lee Slattery and Erik Van Rooyen, who set the early pace with his seven-under 65.

Lee Westwood struggled, however, carding a one-over par 73, while Padraig Harrington - runner-up 12 months ago - also finished on the same score.

Three-time European Tour winner Edoardo Molinari enjoyed a better day, ending in a tie for fourth after a six-under round of 66.

Reigning champion Andrea Pavan hit four birdies to sign for a blemish-free 68, two ahead of Thomas Bjorn, who played one of the shots of the day with a chip from the fringe of the green on the 14th.

Tiger Woods says he played "quite well" after coming through nine holes unscathed at Medinah on the eve of the BMW Championship as he eyes an East Lake return.

The 15-time major champion withdrew from the Northern Trust last week after being troubled by a mild oblique strain during his first round.

Woods feels in better shape as he bids to move up from 38th on the FedExCup points list to inside the top 30, which would give him the opportunity to defend his Tour Championship title next week.

Asked about his condition, the Masters champion said: "Way better. It was nice to take those days off. I had to just let it calm down and get a bunch of treatment on it. I played nine today, the front nine and quite well. 

"I took the back nine off, chipped and putted quite a bit and it definitely didn't feel like it did on Friday.

"Like I've said before, the forces have got to go somewhere. Unfortunately, when I'm making the kind of tweaks and changes to my swing, it's like a new body part is aching. I can't play around with the back like I used to, and things flare up.

"I've had to make tweaks all year trying to ease the stress of my back while still playing and unfortunately I haven't done a very good job of that and when I have, I've hit the ball quite well.

"I was really excited about what I was doing at Liberty [National], I made some nice changes and obviously I didn't feel very well on Thursday."

Woods is determined to ensure he does not miss out on the season-ending tournament in Atlanta, where he ended a five-year title drought 12 months ago.

"Trying to be explosive, have enough rest time and training time – that has been the biggest challenge," he added.

"This is no different. I am trying to win this tournament, just like anybody else in this field, and I'm trying to get to East Lake and get to the place where a lot of things changed for me last year - hopefully I can make that happen."

Bryson DeChambeau insists he is trying to improve the pace of his play and is determined to be "part of the solution" after criticism at the Northern Trust.

Numerous clips shared on social media last week showed DeChambeau taking several minutes to line up shots in New Jersey, with playing partners Justin Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood apparently disinterested.

The video footage prompted outrage from many fans and fellow professionals, with Eddie Pepperell calling DeChambeau a "single-minded twit" - comments he would later apologise for.

DeChambeau initially stated such criticism was unfair and suggested the caddies were largely to blame for the pace of the game.

But the 25-year-old was more apologetic as he posted on Instagram and insisted: "I will do my very best to improve my pace.

"Slow play affects the quality of the game for both players and our fans and I've always had the utmost respect for my playing partners, including JT and Tommy," he wrote.

"I'm constantly trying to improve and I will do my very best to improve my pace. Golf is my passion and livelihood. It's my responsibility to help improve the game to be more enjoyable for all.

"Pace of play has been an issue for golf at all levels for a long time, and I'm committed to being a part of the solution, not the problem.

"I want to be a good representative of the game and the @PGATour and I looking forward to working with the TOUR and fellow players to find a solution to slow play."

Following last week's tournament, the PGA Tour confirmed it would review its pace-of-play guidelines.

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