Surf Coast Knockout brings welcomed change

Why does professional golf have to consist of an endless round of 72-hole stroke play tournaments week after week?

I have no idea. I also have no idea why no one seems to want to break this mold.

So kudos to the Australasian Tour for a recent innovation called the Surf Coast Knockout, which was played Jan. 20-23. It was a four day event, but with a twist. They played stroke play the first two days with a 36-hole cut for the top 50 players. Then the top 32 players after Saturday qualified for the last day. The final day consisted of six-hole knockout matches until they got to a winner – Scott Laycock.

We need more of this sort of innovation.

Why 72 holes every week? Why not 54, or 36 holes. I mean, how many people actually take an interest in what happens on Thursday and Friday anyway? Why not 36 holes over the weekend with an 18 hole cut?

The European Tour is currently in the midst of its Middle East swing, with tournaments taking place from Thursday to Sunday. Yet Sunday is a work day in Muslim countries, with Friday and Saturday their weekend. So why not play 36 holes Thursday and Friday, have a cut and then settle the tournament over 18 holes on Saturday? Or just have a 36-hole tournament over Friday and Saturday.

Or how about an 18-hole tournament, or even a nine-hole event? We are forever saying tournaments don’t really begin until the back nine on Sunday, so why not dispense of the other 63 holes and get down to the nitty-gritty.

How about a nine-hole competition on Sunday for a handful of the top players? Ten, 15, maybe 20 competitors at most. Because, let’s face it, most fans only turn out to see a few stars anyway. Most of the field are just making up the numbers.

Let’s have wide fairways, easy pin positions and have a good, old-fashioned shootout. Quick, simple and, most importantly, different.

Why don’t we have more stroke play/match play tournaments? Stroke play qualifying leading to a match play finale.

I’m not saying we need to change things every week. Every once in a while would do me. I’d love to see more events like Australia’s Surf Coast Knockout.

There are so many tournaments played around the world, that it doesn’t seem a lot to ask for a little variety every once in while rather than a steady diet of 72-hole tournaments.

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