The drive to increase interest and participation in golf continued unabated last week, as the innovatively formatted ISPS HANDA World Super 6 takes place at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in Perth, Australia.
A great deal of intrigue surrounded the tournament with organisers declaring its potential to ‘reinvigorate golf’.
Brett Rumford took the honours in the new format's, highlight riddled, maiden event...here are a few of them:
This was the first time in the history of the European Tour that both stroke-play and match play have been used in the same event. The World Super 6 Perth combines 54 holes of traditional stroke play across the first three days and switch to a final round match play format to decide the eventual champion.
At the end of Friday’s play there's a regular 36 hole cut, with an additional 54 hole cut on Saturday to finally whittle the remaining field down to 24 players.
Sunday’s match play format is a 6-hole elimination style tournament. The top eight players get an initial by and join the winners of the first round matches - leaving a 'last 16' proper.
From here, each winner progresses to the next round until a champion is crowned.
More Innovation To Come
Just this week the European Tour sanctioned the ‘GolfSixes', a further innovative golfing event which is due to take place in May at St Alban’s Centurion Club just outside London. Again, the format involves match play and brings together 16 separate nations in a ‘world-cup’ style tournament.
There was a real ‘amphitheatre’ feel, a major focus on player-fan interaction, and music played at the tee boxes. It seems that, in terms of atmosphere, the event organisers are thinking of a Hole-16 TPC Scottsdale experience, but on every single hole.
All this provides evidence of how pressing the European Tour sees the need to modernise golf and tap into its, as yet, unfulfilled global promise.
On that note, last week's World Super 6 Perth had a real global feel. Having been signed off by the European Tour, Asian Tour and the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
In fact, the tournament had also captured the imagination of one of the PGA Tour’s biggest names in Patrick Reed, before the Texan had to pull out because of an ongoing illness.
A Necessary Change
Few would argue with the belief that the greatest traditions of golf must be protected while looking at ways to broaden the appeal of the game we all love. It would be very easy to feel somewhat resistant to change but something has to give if participation numbers are to be increased.
From the European Tour’s perspective, certain initiatives will work, while others will fail. As a sport though, and as the old saying goes, if we aren’t moving forwards, we are standing still.
Only time will tell whether events like the World Super 6 Perth help to increase interest in the game.
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