West­wood wants golf to ‘jazz up’ as Euro­pean Tour in­no­vates

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

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.

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