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European Tour: GolfSixes 2018 Preview

Another week and another innovative team event, this time on the European Tour. The GolfSixes 2018 takes place this Saturday and Sunday at the Centurion Club in St Albans, England.

Coming hot on the heels of last week's tournament on the PGA Tour - the Zurich Classic - this is the second annual running of the GolfSixes and there are a few changes this year to help further broaden the appeal.

With a prize fund of €1,000,000 on offer this week, it's hardly the most lucrative of tournaments, but then that's not really the point. Can the European Tour build upon the success of last year's event and capture the imagination to a greater degree? Time will tell; here's our preview in the meantime:

The Venue

Course: Centurion Club, St Albans, England
Yardage: 2,335 yards (par 24)

The players will face a specially constructed 2,335-yard, par 24 course at Centurion Club, St Albans. The tee-boxes are raised high above fairway level and the full course incorporates 80 bunkers and four water hazards.

This will be only the second time the Centurion Club has been used for European Tour competition - the first being at this event last year.

The Format

As with last year, the two-player teams will compete on a six-hole circuit, with the pairs split into four groups of four for a round-robin tournament. A greensome format will be in play throughout. Each player hits a tee shot and chooses their best before hitting alternate shots until posting a score. Both players hit drives, pick the best one and play alternate shot through to the end of the hole.

Each team will play three times in the group stages with three points for a win over six holes, one for a draw and, of course, zero if defeated. The top two teams progress to the knockout stages with these played over as many holes as is required to determine a winner. A shortened shootout hole will be used in a playoff situation.

You can watch highlights of the 2017 event below:

GolfSixes 2018: The Six Holes

Hole 1: consists of entrance music, pyrotechnics, a host and big screen
Hole 2: will help raise money for charity with each birdie putting cash in the pot
Hole 3: a long-drive competition for both male and female golfers
Hole 4: shot-clock is in play and each golfer is allowed just 30 seconds to take their shot or incur a one-shot penalty
Hole 5: closest-to-the-pin challenge
Hole 6: the final hole with post-match interviews and a special tee for any Sunday playoffs

Meet The Teams

Defending Champions: Lucas Bjerregaard and Thorbjorn Olesen (Denmark)

With the draw for the group stages having already been completed, let’s have a look at who’s playing who.

GROUP A Denmark, Thailand, USA, European Women
GROUP B Spain, South Korea, Australia, European Captains
GROUP C France, Scotland, Ireland, Italy
GROUP D England, South Africa, Sweden, England Women

Interesting Pairings

Group A sees the first new team in this year's event with a European Women pair of Mel Reid and Carlota Ciganda facing off against the 2017 champions Thorbjorn Olesen and Lucas Bjerregaard as well as the teams from USA and Thailand.

In Group B we have an interesting team of this year's Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn and the 2019 Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew. The pair will face teams from Spain, South Korea and Australia.

There's a very Celtic feel to Group C with Ireland, Scotland and France joined by Italy in what looks like a highly competitive challenge for each side.

Group D is highlighted by the inclusion of an England Women team of Georgia Hall and Charley Hull. They will come up against their male compatriots in Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace as well as pairings from South Africa and Sweden.

It's sure to be an exciting and fun-filled weekend in St Albans but will the GolfSixes hit the right note with golf fans? What did you think of last year's event and do you think 2018 will be bigger and better? Let us know below.

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