- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 18, 2012

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, ENGLAND (AP) - Organizers say they are cracking down on slow play at the British Open, calling the issue a scourge that is “killing” the game at amateur levels in particular.

Three-balls are under orders to complete their first two rounds in 4 1/2 hours at Royal Lytham and St. Annes this week, with two-balls required to finish in 3 hours, 45 minutes.

Jim McArthur, chairman of the championship committee, says “we’re putting slow play as priority.” Although sanctioning players with a shot penalty is rare, he says “we would take whatever action is appropriate.”

McArthur says Wednesday “it needs to be a concerted effort, not just the Royal and Ancient, not just the tours, but the golf unions and other golf organizations to come to a coordinated effort to improve the speed.”