The European Tour says its new inaugural World Super 6 Perth tournament is set to “revolutionize golf.” You can’t blame them for the hype, and you have to praise them for trying something new, but revolution?
Let’s wait and see.
New European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley is living up to his word for trying out new formats and deserves credit for joining forces with the Australian Tour to try something a different (or not, as you’ll soon see). This event at Lake Karrinyup Country Club from February 16-19, 2017 will feature a full field playing stroke play over 36 holes with a regular cut. Another cut will follow after 54 holes, with only the top 24 making it through to six-hole matches in the final round.
Ties will be settled by a 90-meter short hole, with the tee near Lake Karrinyup’s 18th fairway and players hitting to the existing 18th green. Players will play the hole once to see who advances. In the event of another halved hole, players will play the hole again, and the player closest to the pin wins. (Quite why they can’t just use closest to the pin first time around is beyond me.)
“At the European Tour, we believe that golf needs to look at new and innovative formats,” Pelley said. PGA of Australia CEO Brian Thorburn chipped in with: “This is an exciting day for international golf as we launch the World Super 6 Perth; a golf tournament which is set to change the way people view golf.”
Both tours are trying to copy cricket’s Twenty-20 and rugby sevens, shorter versions of traditional sports.
I agree about golf needing new and innovative formats. I welcome this addition to the moribund, steady diet of 72-hole stroke play events. I’m just not convinced this tournament will change the way people view golf.
As we saw with the Olympic Games, the wider public’s perception of golf as an elitist, ultra-conservative sport stuck in its own little bubble isn’t wide of the mark. The contempt with which the world’s top men viewed golf in the Olympics suggests some of our top men aren’t interested in how people view the game or even in getting more people to view the game.
Hopefully the success of the Rio Games changed the attitudes of the world’s top men, and hopefully the World Super 6 Perth will be a success. Be warned, though: the Australian Tour has been down this road before.
Remember the 2011 Surf Coast Knockout? Not many do except for perhaps Scott Laycock.
Laycock won the tournament, an event that ran thus: A 36-hole cut identified the top 50 players, then the top 32 players after the third round qualified for a final round that consisted of six-hole knockout matches until Laycock was last man standing.
The Surf Coast Knockout was also billed as capable of changing the face of golf. My memory is getting a bit hazy, but I’m pretty sure (and internet searches seems to confirm my view) that Laycock didn’t defend his title since there was none to defend the following year. The tournament was a one-shot wonder, or maybe a one-shot dud.
However, I don’t want to be a killjoy. Let’s give this World Super 6 Perth a bash. Let’s just hope it lasts longer than the Surf Coast Knockout.