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GolfSixes – The European Tour’s Answer to Livening Up the Game

by Maura Hutchinson

The European Tour has announced it’s latest tournament venture set to tee off this May – GolfSixes.  Featuring players from 16 countries competing in 2-man teams over a six-hole course, could this new format be the answer to making golf more fun and modern???

Keith Pelley hopes so. The Chief Executive of the European Tour unveiled this latest format yesterday stating he hoped it would adopt a Ryder Cup feel for fans and players alike. To help facilitate his vision Pelley will include amphitheatre-style stands around the tees and greens of the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire as well as music and pyrotechnics.  Further enhancing the experience all players will be mic’d up to encourage maximum interaction with the crowds.

“We want to broaden the appeal of our sport to the millennial demographic and I think this format will do that, not only through the quick and exiting style of play, but also with the interactive digital experience fans will enjoy on site and the innovative television coverage people will enjoy at home,” Pelley explained.

One only has to look at the effect that stadium-style seating has had on the 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open to know Pelley might be on to something.  Instead of caving in to the tradition of “quiet please” on the course, the European Tour is embracing change and hoping it will bring a new and exciting element to the sport.

“There is no question that the greatest atmosphere in golf comes every two years at The Ryder Cup and we are keen to try and emulate that national fervour in this format,” added Pelley.  “We are in the entertainment content business with golf as our platform and GolfSixes is the perfect illustration of that.”

This isn’t the first time the European Tour has looked to re-energise its events.  The World Super 6 Perth, formally known as the Perth International, has been transformed for this week’s schedule.  Featuring 54 holes of stroke play with the traditional cut after two rounds, the event’s final round will showcase the top-24 players in a six-hole match play shootout on Sunday.  Any ties will be decided using the “knock-out hole,” a purpose-built 90-metre hole adjacent to the 18th fairway that will utilise the 18th’s green.  If the knock-out hole fails to decide a winner, players will go back to the tee box for a closet-to-the-pin contest.

Pelley was surely hoping yesterday’s announcement would be even more exciting in light of this week’s event format Down Under.  With a party-like atmosphere and a €1 million prize fund up for grabs lets hope his gamble to rejuvenate the professional circuit pays off in May!