Music, fireworks and players hooked up to microphones are just a few of the innovations that will take centre stage of the European Tour’s newest event – GolfSixes.
GolfSixes is the European Tour’s latest push into novel short form versions of the game, following on from this week’s World Super 6 Perth that combines three traditional rounds of strokeplay with one day of six-hole match-play showdowns.
The inaugural GolfSixes event, with a total purse of €1 million, will make its debut on the European Tour schedule at the Centurion Club in St Albans, north west of London, on May 6 and 7.
GolfSixes will feature two-man teams from 16 different country, with each nation being represented by its leading ranked and available European Tour member from the 2017 ‘Exemption Category List’ as of March 13. That player will then be joined by a compatriot of his choosing from within the European Tour membership.
The first day’s play on Saturday May 6 will see the teams split into four groups of four – similar to the UEFA Champions League football group stages – before the top two teams from each group progress to the knockout stages and on to the quarter-finals, semi-finals, a third/fourth place play-off match and the final. All the finals will be contested on the second day.
In the group stages, three points will be given for winning a match with one point given for a draw while the matches themselves will be played in a greensomes* match play format.
In addition to amphitheatre-style stands around the tees and greens, there will be music and fireworks on the 1st tee and at various points around the course, with all players mic'd up to help bring fans closer to the action.
Players will also be encouraged to interact with the fans during play and in the intervals between their matches, including taking part in Q&A sessions in the fan zone, while live streaming on social media will further enhance the spectators’ experience and maximise reach.
The interactive digital fan experience will feature polls, user generated content and unique social media content while the innovative broadcast items will include POV cameras, caddie cams, unique camera angles and on-course player interviews.
“We have said for some time that golf needs to modernise 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,” European Tour Chief Executive Keith 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 exciting 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 fervour in this format.
“We are in the entertainment content business with golf as our platform and GolfSixes is the perfect illustration of that.” – European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley.
HOW GOLFSIXES WORKS
- Both players in each team hit tee shots on every hole. The best tee shot is selected and then the team play alternate shots on all subsequent shots required to complete the hole.
- Matches will be played over all six holes with one point awarded for each hole won. The winner of each match will be the players with most points at the end of six 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 three 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 play-off on a shortened play-off hole on the 18th hole.
- Matches will be played over as many holes needed to determine a winner.
- Any match that is still tied after six holes will be continued by repeated play of a “shortened play-off hole” on the 18th hole until a result is determined.