Can golf change for the better?

The first ever GolfSixes event takes place this weekend at Centurion Golf Club, St Albans next to London, most importantly, on a six-hole course instead of the usual eighteen. Sixteen nation teams are to tee it up in a greensome format with group play on Saturday and three knockout rounds on Sunday. Whilst none of the teams have history in this form of the game, it should favour certain players and partnerships. We have selected a couple of teams to look out for among some of the exciting talents in golf taking part. The home team includes the Ryder Cup players Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood and they would hate losing the new trophy in their courtyard.

Grégory Bourdy

Next, Grégory Bourdy and Alex Levy play for France and are possibly two of the most in-form players on the 2017 European Tour. Levy won his fourth title last week at the Volvo China Open, making up seven shots in the final round to chase down Dylan Frittelli in a play-off. The 26 year old has three top tens in his last four starts. Bourdy finished third at the Shenzhen International two weeks ago including a perfect hole in one. As a pair, the duo match up well with Bourdy leading the field in fairways and Levy ranking in the top five in scrambling and putts per green in regulation.

Brainchild  of European Tour boss Keith Pelley, GolfSixes follows an exciting team-focused matchplay format over two days, instead of the traditional four-day, 72 hole stroke play. In greensome matchplay, the teams select their best tee shot hole by hole and then play alternate shot thereafter. On Saturday May 6, the teams are split into four groups of four. The top two teams from each group progress to the knockout stages for the quarter-finals, the semi-finals, the  3rd/4th place play-off and the final, all of which contested on Sunday May 7, with one million euros at stake. Of the 32 players, 19 have already represented their country at a professional level before. Only Sweden and the USA have both of their players competing in a professional team event for the first time.

Jonas Blixt, Cameron Smith

Winning the Zurich Classic last week in New Orleans (Louisiana) in a foursome and 4-ball format (72 holes), another first for a regular PGA Tour event, the young Australian Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt from Sweden surprised the whole field (80 players) taking off with more than one million dollars each and a starting time at the coming Players Championship. A new life awaits these two young guns. World’s top five player Jordan Spieth (4th with Palmer), the pair Day- Fowler or the powerful Rose-Stenson duo missing the cut, all were still positive about this original format. “I would not mind playing  such an event a couple of times during the season even though without any world ranking points or a Masters invitation for the winners” Spieth said. “It was really fun and a breath of fresh air in our tight schedule.”

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