May 02, 2017: Move aside T20 cricket, golf has found an answer. GolfSixes promises to soak its fans wet with excitement. Sixes are no longer the preserve of cricket, as golf seeks to reinvent its boundaries. These are happening times for golf and new formats are certainly the order of the day.
The Zurich Classic produced a thrilling four-hole playoff between Cameron Smith – Jonas Blixt and Kevin Kisner – Scott Brown. Eventually, it was the Smith-Blixt duo that pulled off a memorable PGA TOUR victory, holding their nerves through the 76th hole. The European Tour picks up the baton this week, with the GolfSixes at the Centurion Club in St. Albans. The presence of SSP Chawrasia and S Chikkarangappa is added incentive for Indian fans to glue their eyes to this promising contest of knock out golf.
Exciting New Format
The event will be a two-day shoot-out between 16 two man teams from 16 countries. There will be six rounds of six hole matches. I suppose you get the drift. Welcome to the GolfSixes. If you are already rubbing your hands with a spark in your eyes, you must be one of those blokes that gets golf.
The tournament will be played over just two days, so there isn’t too much time to bide or breathe. The thrilling weekend will feature both a group stage and knockout stages. The top two teams in each of the four groups of four teams each will advance to the knockout stages.
Each hole will carry a point and the team with the highest points at the end of the sixth hole will be the winner of the match. A win earns three points, a draw will account for a single point and a loss will amount to nothing. The format is called the Greensomes – both players will tee off, before picking their best shot and playing alternatively till they sink the ball in the cup.
In case of a tie at the end of the group stage, total points differential (drawn from points accumulated at each hole) will be used to determine the qualifiers. However, if the tie is unbroken by the differential, then a play off at the 18th hole will be used to break the tie.
Unlike the group stage, where a draw is possible, the knockout stages will be played to pick the winner. In case of a tie after six holes, the players will reach the 18th to determine the winner.
There is a universal sense of excitement among the world class field assembled for the event this week. “Not long now until myself and Lucas (Bjerregaard) take part in the GolfSixes,” tweeted Thorbjorn Olesen, the Danish golfer. “Going to be a fun week representing Denmark.”
Andy Sullivan joined in the chorus too. “Looking forward to GolfSixes, 6-7 May, at Centurion Club,” he wrote on his twitter account. “Its going to be innovative and great fun.”
The tournament is a bold new experiment. We will have to hold our excitement in till the fans and spectators make their verdict by the end of Sunday. If the week is a success it could turn out to be a watershed moment for televised golf world wide and the beginning of a new era in the game.
- ENGLAND: Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan
- THAILAND: Thongchai Jaidee, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
- AUSTRALIA: Sam Brazel, Scott Hend
- SOUTH AFRICA: Darren Fichardt, Brandon Stone
- DENMARK: Thorbjørn Olesen, Lucas Bjerregaard
- FRANCE: Alexander Levy, Grégory Bourdy
- SPAIN: Pablo Larrazábal, Alejandro Cañizares
- WALES: Bradley Dredge, Jamie Donaldson
- USA: Paul Peterson, David Lipsky
- NETHERLANDS; Joost Luiten, Reinier Saxton
- BELGIUM: Nicolas Colsaerts, Thomas Detry
- SWEDEN: Johan Carlsson,Joakim Lagergren
- INDIA: S.S.P Chawrasia, Chikkarangappa S
- PORTUGAL: Ricardo Gouveia, José-Filipe Lima
- ITALY: Matteo Manassero, Renato Paratore
- SCOTLAND: Richie Ramsay, Marc Warren