Last weekend saw a change to the usual professional tournament format. The event held at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club in Perth was called the World Super 6 Tournament and started off as a normal event with 156 players teeing off in a medal format. After 36 holes the field was cut to 67 and then after the third round it was cut again to 24 players and then the Tournament was changed to a match play format.
The top 8 players were given byes and the other 16 then played match play over 6 holes till the winners of those matches was determined and then they joined those golfers who had been given byes in a series of knock out events till it got down to the final 2 players. Any tied matches were settled with a one hole shoot out at a specially designed 80 yard short hole.
It was an experiment designed to appeal to younger television viewers and get them interested in the game. There were other innovations such as having the player and the caddies “miked up” in an effort to make the event more interesting to the non-golfer. There was certainly more action to be seen on television as there was always something going on and you were not looking at pictures of golfers walking between shots or listening to the commentators having to fill in between shots. It did at some stage look like all the golfers were doing was putting as the cameras focused on the climax of the matches.
So did it work? As an experiment it was interesting but whether it will get more people involved in the game is something only time will tell. Like all Sports administrators Keith Pelley, the European Tours Chief executive, is looking at new ways to grow the game and maintain or increase the television exposure. However as the game of golf has survived for quite some time and you have to question whether is that really necessary? Would they not be better trying to improve the games current problems instead of inventing new formats of the game. Everyone seems to think that it is the length of time it takes to play the game in today’s fast paced world that is halting its progress and maybe that’s where efforts should be made to improve things. If amateur golfers took the same amount of time as the professionals did on the putting greens in their monthly medal there would be riots on every golf course. Unfortunately certain individuals see what the Pros are doing and try to copy that which leads to 4 to 5 hour rounds at Club level and there is no more certain way of golfers losing interest in the game if they are stuck behind such a group. Perhaps a time limit on the Pros on the putting green could be introduced and whilst at first I am sure they would complain they would soon get used to it and it would be a level playing field for everyone and hopefully the amateur player would copy that.