Keith Pelley continues to deliver on his promise to shake up golf’s staid image with Tuesday’s announcement that the European Tour’s GolfSixes event in May will feature male and female competitors.
Ladies European Tour stars Georgia Hall, Charley Hull, Catriona Matthew, Mel Reid and Suzann Pettersen will play in the second edition of the GolfSixes at the Centurion Club just north of London. European Solheim Cup captain Matthew will pair with Ryder Cup equivalent Thomas Bjorn to form a captains team.
Pelley launched last year’s six-hole competition complete with a shot clock, first-tee pyrotechnics and a short playoff hole. The event was a resounding success, with the Danish team of Lucas Bjerregaard and Thorbjorn Olesen winning the title. They will be back to defend this year but might come up against Hall and Hull in an England women’s team. Meanwhile, Reid and Pettersen will comprise a European women’s team.
A fourth and final wildcard team will be named next month alongside the teams identified above and the other 11 national pairs in the 16-team event.
“It’s hugely important to try and break down the barriers that have existed in golf between the men’s and women’s games,” Bjorn said. “When this opportunity arose to play as Ryder Cup Captain, I thought it was only right to speak to Catriona as the Solheim Cup Captain about forming a team.”
Matthew had to rearrange her playing schedule to commit to the event.
“The fact it is something different for golf is great,” she said. “All tours are trying to think of ways to make golf different and encourage a new and younger audience. I think this whole concept is very exciting.”
Pelley began his tenure as European Tour chief executive in 2015 with a promise of bringing innovation to the European circuit. He did that last year with GolfSixes to add to allowing European Tour members to wear shorts during practice rounds, piping music onto practice ranges and encouraging the tour’s social media team to come up with innovative videos to attract younger audiences.
Last year’s GolfSixes proved his message is getting through. Children compromised a large portion of the gallery.
The $1.2 million GolfSixes will be staged May 5-8.