Westwood wants golf to ‘jazz up’ as European Tour innovates
Standing on a specially constructed tee and under floodlights, Alexander Levy played his shot to the 156-yard par-3 hole to the backdrop of "oohs" from the crowd and with pyrotechnics going off around him.
It was golf, but not as we know it.
This was the Hero Challenge: an eight-man, one-hole knockout event played as a precursor to the British Masters tournament.
It was the latest innovative event conceived by European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley, who wants to bring more entertainment to a sport that is seeing playing numbers dwindle.
About 2,200 spectators watched eight European Tour professionals contest the shootout under lights on Tuesday night. Levy, of France, beat Alex Noren in the final, collecting a first prize of 10,000 pounds ($12,200) that will go to a charity.
Lee Westwood, who is playing in the British Masters starting at The Grove on Thursday, said he would be in favor of expanding the exhibition to a full event.
Last month, the European Tour said a new tournament will be played in Perth, Australia, next year that will combine stroke play for three rounds and match play over six holes on the final day.
The World Super 6 Perth tournament, to be played at Lake Karrinyup Country Club from Feb. 16-19, will have a 36-hole cut as in regular tournaments before the top 24 players after the third round advance to a matchplay component.
It includes unique features such as a 90-meter (100-yard) knockout hole if matches are tied after six holes.