You have to give European Tour chief executive Keith Pelly top marks for trying. He said he was going to try to change golf’s traditional, staid image, and he’s doing just that.
Pelley’s quest to revolutionize the game takes another step forward with the announcement of a new E1 million GolfSixes tournament to be staged May 6-7. Pelley has already introduced shorts in practice rounds, music on practice ranges and this week’s Super Six in Perth. Now he’s staging a six-hole, international pairs competition featuring greensomes golf. (Greensomes is like foursomes golf, except both players tee off before selecting the better tee shot, and then play alternate shots from there.)
Centurion Golf Club just north of London will host the tournament, which will feature 16 pairs from different countries split into four groups of four. The top two teams from each group will make it the second round of knockout stages.
Pelley is hoping to emulate cricket’s 20/20 format, a faster version of the game than traditional cricket. Pelley, who started his career as Euro Tour CEO in August 2015, is promising amphitheater stands around tees and greens, pyrotechnics and microphones on all players.
GolfSixes is played over six holes with limited time for each player to play shots.
“We have said for some time that golf needs to modernize, and introducing innovative new formats is a major part of achieving that aim, which is why I am delighted to announce the launch of GolfSixes today,” Pelley said.
“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.
“We are also delighted to have brought a country versus country element to the fore. 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 fervor in this format. We are in the entertainment content business with golf as our platform and GolfSixes is the perfect illustration of that.
“I encourage everyone, whether they are a golf fan or not, to come along to the Centurion Club in May and immerse yourself in an occasion which will be unlike anything else you have experienced on a golf course before.”
It’s doubtful that Pelley will be able to attract Europe’s A list players the weekend before the Players Championship. However, Pelley’s innovation is to be celebrated.
- Both players in each team hit tee shots on each hole. The best tee shot is selected and then the team alternate play of all subsequent shots required to complete the hole.
- Matches will be played over all 6 holes with 1 point awarded for each hole won. The winner of each match will be the player with most points at the end of 6 holes.
- For the group table: Win = 3 points, Draw = 1 point, Loss = 0 points
- In the case of a tie or ties in the group table after all matches have been played, each team’s total points differential from the 3 matches (similar to goal difference) will be used to determine the qualifiers to the knockout stages.
- If this does not resolve the tie, then this will be decided by a hole-by-hole playoff on a shortened playoff hole on hole 18.
- Matches will be played over as many holes as is required to determine a winner.
- Any match that is still tied after 6 holes will be continued by repeated play of a “shortened playoff hole” on hole 18 until a result is determined.