A Quiet Revo­lu­tion is Brew­ing in Golf

The Su­per 6 event in Perth is set to ditch con­ven­tion by de­cid­ing winner in a fi­nal day match­play shootout

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games - Ian Ran­som

Golf has clung slav­ishly to its cen­turies-old tra­di­tions and long ig­nored grow­ing calls for re­form but the an­cient sport will be nudged gen­tly to­wards moder­nity at the in­au­gu­ral World Su­per 6 tour­na­ment in Aus­tralia this week.

The Euro­pean Tour co-sanc­tioned event at Perth’s Lake Kar­rinyup Coun­try Club will ditch con­ven­tion by de­cid­ing Sun­day’s winner in a fi­nal day match­play shootout af­ter three rounds of reg­u­lar stroke­play. The in­no­va­tion will promise a more “punchy” fin­ish for spec­ta­tors and tele­vi­sion au­di­ences, or­gan­is­ers hope, as a full field whit­tled down to 24 play­ers com­pete in pairs in six-hole play­offs un­til only one re­mains.

While more evo­lu­tion than revo­lu­tion, it’s a tweak un­prece­dented on any of the world’s ma­jor pro­fes­sional tours.

It also counted as a nec­es­sary ex­per­i­ment for a game that was strug­gling to lure a new gen­er­a­tion of par­tic­i­pants and fans in golf’s ma­ture mar­kets, ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian PGA Tour. “The chal­lenge for a lot of sport, and par­tic­u­larly for golf, is the de­mo­graphic of the av­er­age golfer and golf fan is a bit older,” PGA Aus­tralia’s chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer Steve Ayles told Reuters on Wed­nes­day.

“We’re ba­si­cally the num­ber one sport for over-45s.

“This form of event cer­tainly ap­peals to a younger de­mo­graphic and cer­tainly ap­peals to peo­ple who are time-poor.

“And we be­lieve that this will be a great spec­ta­cle.”

The Scot­tish city of Perth is renowned for its rich golf her­itage, with King James IV hav­ing made the first recorded pur­chase of golf clubs from a lo­cal bow­maker there in 1502, but its Aus­tralian name­sake is an un­likely launch-pad for re­form. With most of the world’s top golfers com­pet­ing at the $7 mil­lion Ge­n­e­sis Open on the PGA Tour, a mod­est field head­lined by Swedish world num­ber 11 Alex Noren and for­mer Bri­tish Open winner Louis Oosthuizen

Aus­tralia has bat­tled to at­tract spon­sors and fans to its mar­quee events in re­cent years

Thein­no­va­tion­will­promiseamore “punchy” fin­ish for spec­ta­tors and tele­vi­sion­au­di­ences—Get­tyI­mages

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