Rugby sevens, rugby 10s, rugby league nines, 50-over cricket, twenty20 cricket — and now it’s golfsixes.
The European Tour last month announced a golfsixes tournament to be held in England in May. It will carry prizemoney of one million euros, which is about $NZ1.48 million.
It will be a teams’ event over six holes and played in matchplay style.
Each team of two players will be from 16 different nations. Each nation will be represented by the country’s leading ranked and available player from the European Tour. The leading player can choose any European Tour player as a partner.
The format of play will be greensomes where each player hits a tee shot. The team then chooses the best tee shot and subsequent play alternates between the team members until the hole is completed.
The first day’s play on Saturday, May 6 will see the teams split into four groups of four with the top two teams from each group progressing to the knockout stage on the following day.
The innovation does not end there. 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, while all players will wear microphones to help bring fans closer to the action.
Players will be encouraged to interact with the fans during play and in the intervals between their matches, including taking part in question and answer sessions in the fan zone.
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.
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley 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.
“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.”
• 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.