European Tour gets even tougher on slow play

Chief referee John Paramor has increased powers to punish players for slow play

Paul Casey, a member of the PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council which has approved the new regulations, insists it is time for the professionals to take more responsibility in getting around the course in a more acceptable time, although he warned that the changes would not be significant. "Being named like that was a bit unusual, but it is what it is and I take it and understand it".

The US left-hander won the 2013 Open Championship then went almost five years without a victory before taking the 2018 WGC Mexico Championship and last year added his fifth Pebble Beach Pro-Am title for a 44th career PGA crown. He missed his first team competition since 1993 at the Presidents Cup and he fully intends to make it 13 straight starts against Europe. "We want to keep the focus where it should be, on world-class shot-making".

Two-time victor PHIL MICKELSON makes his first start of 2020 in the unfamiliar role of tournament host. The goal, Dennis said, is for the Tour to help them change their habits.

"I had to spend the last seven, 10 days working with (swing coach) Andrew Getz and (short-game coach) Dave Pelz getting my game sharp so that I'm ready when I get here", Mickelson said.

"I'm at the point where I've got to earn my spot, there's eight spots out there and, if I play well, I'll make it".

Mickelson is coming off what he admits was a disappointing year after he finished second in the American Express and then won the AT&T Pebble Beach tournament for his 44th career win.

"I had a great off-season", Mickelson said.

"When I stop hitting bombs I'll play the Champions Tour but I'm hitting some insane bombs right now".

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"That is what I have always tried, to try to illuminate the game of golf and not drive people away, with the development of single-length plates, to have a new way of balancing the golf club and doing all these different things that looks weird, but I've been a great benefit to the game, that's what it's about".

"So now it's on me. This it the best I've felt in years, maybe even decades".

Starting in April, players who are out of position or on the observation list will get a warning for the first bad time, and a one-shot penalty if it happens again during the tournament.

Mickelson did not do that for most of 2019.

The European Circuit is committed to rigorously applying the time guidelines: 50 seconds if it is the first to play and 40 seconds for the following players in the group, and DeChambeau believes he will have no problems adapting and complying with the strictest rules.

"It's nice to have the option to move over to another tour", he added, "but it's also nice to have the challenge of competing out here".

"He knows how bad I want to be on the team, but I don't want to be a pick; I've got to earn it, " Mickelson said of USA captain Steve Stricker, who was an assistant to captain Tiger Woods at last month's Presidents Cup.

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