European Tour chases next-gen appeal with GolfSixes

It just had to happen…eventually. Golf’s answer to 20-20 cricket, GolfSixes is about to launch on the European Tour.

Fans can expect music and pyrotechnics on the first tee and at various spots around the course, players will be wearing microphones to give fans an insight into what they’re thinking, players will be encouraged to interact with spectators and at the end of the event there will be €1 million up for grabs.

Keith Pelley European Tour CEO Keith Pelley

And in a blatant grab to cash in some of patriotism that is so much of the Ryder Cup each two years, the GolfSixes event will feature two-man teams from 16 different nations when it makes its debut at the Centurion Club in St Albans, to the north west of London, on May 6-7.

Each nation will be represented by its leading ranked and available European Tour member from the 2017 Exemption Category List as at Monday March 13, who will be joined by a compatriot of his choosing from within European Tour Membership, not unlike the World Cup of Golf format.

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 – the quarter-finals, the semi-finals, a third v fourth place play-off match and the final – all of which will be contested on Sunday, May 7.

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.

Matches will be played over six holes with one point awarded for each hole won. The winner of each match will be the player with most points at the end of six holes.

Chief Executive of the European Tour Keith Pelley explained: “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.”

“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 exiting 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.”