A new-style event that combines both stroke-play and match-play formats is to be rolled out by the European Tour next year in a joint- venture with the PGA Tour of Australasia.
The World Super 6 Perth tournament, to be staged at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in Australia in February, will consist of three rounds of stroke-play before concluding in match-play on the final day.
That will feature the leading 24 players after 54 holes, with the knock-out phase involving six-hole shoot-outs. Any matches tied will be decided by playing a hole of less than 100 yards, where it will become a nearest-the-pin contest if a second visit there is necessary.
While it remains to be seen how 24 players can be reduced to one through such a format – three rounds would leave three players still standing – the revolutionary new format is designed to retain the traditions of the Royal & Ancient game whilst appealing to a broader market.
“This initiative was something that we spoke about at great length to our Tournament Committee, led by chairman Thomas Bjørn,” said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley who has made no secret of the fact he feels golf needs to adapt and find a shortened format since taking over the reins of the Wentworth-based organisation from George O’Grady last year. “We are thrilled to participate in this because, at the European Tour, we believe that golf needs to look at new and innovative formats.”
His PGA of Australia counterpart, Brian Thorburn, hailed the event’s launch as an “exciting day for international golf”, adding: “Cricket has Twenty20, netball has Fast5, rugby union has rugby sevens and now golf has the World Super 6 Perth.”
This week’s European Tour event, the Italian Open, features seven members of Darren Clarke’s team for the upcoming Ryder Cup, with Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood being joined in Milan by rookies Matt Fitzpatrick, Danny Willett, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood.
With five top tens in his last eight starts, Kaymer, who secured Europe’s victory at Medinah four years ago, is looking to maintain the momentum that earned him one of Clarke’s wild-card picks along with Westwood and Belgian Thomas Pieters.
“In my past I have always played well when I play a few in a row,” said Kaymer. “I played really well here last year[losing in a play-off] so I have a lot of positive memories. Next week I play in my home country so it’s all very positive going into the Ryder Cup and hopefully I can take some momentum into the Ryder Cup. Once I get there I will be super-excited and it’s a very long and tiring week. But, if I look back, playing a few in a row in the build up usually helps me.”
Looking to sharpen up his play this week, Westwood insisted: “My game’s in pretty good shape, I’m starting to hit the ball a lot better and my scoring’s also a lot better. Hopefully I can get myself in contention and get the competitive juices flowing.”
A nine-strong Scottish contingent includes Scott Jamieson, who will be hoping to follow up a best-of-the-season joint-tenth in the KLM Open in the Netherlands last weekend.