The European Tour is today delighted to unveil GolfSixes, a revolutionary and novel short form of the game which further illustrates the Tour’s desire to embrace innovation and originality in professional golf.
The inaugural GolfSixes event – featuring a prize fund of €1 million – will make its debut on the European Tour schedule at the Centurion Club in St Albans, to the north west of London, on May 6-7, 2017.
The event will feature two-man teams from 16 different nations, each nation being 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.
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 3rd/4th 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.* Both days’ play will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and around the globe on the Tour’s world feed network.
As well as innovation inside the ropes, there will be an abundance of originality for the fans to enjoy outside the ropes as the six holes wend their way around the centrally located fan zone at the Hertfordshire venue.
In addition to amphitheatre-style stands around the tees and greens, there will be music and pyrotechnics on the first tee and at various points around the course, with all players miked 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.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “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 today.
“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.
“I encourage everyone, whether they are a golf fan or not, to come along to the Centurion Club in May and immerse yourself in an occasion which will be unlike anything else you have experienced on a golf course before.”
* Format Summary
• Both players in each team hit tee shots on each hole. The best tee shot is selected and then the team alternate play of all subsequent shots required to complete the hole.
• Matches will be played over all 6 holes with 1 point awarded for each hole won. The winner of each match will be the player with most points at the end of 6 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 3 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 hole 18.
• Matches will be played over as many holes as is required to determine a winner.
• Any match that is still tied after 6 holes will be continued by repeated play of a “shortened play-off hole” on hole 18 until a result is determined.