St Albans club has been confirmed as the host of the inaugural €1m GolfSixes tournament this May
By Martin Inglis
The Centurion Club, near St Albans, has been chosen to host a brand new, innovative European Tour event this May. The inaugural GolfSixes event - featuring a prize fund of €1m - will make its debut on the European Tour schedule at north-west London club, from May 6-7.
The event will feature two-man teams from 16 different nations, each nation being represented by its leading ranked and available European Tour member from the 2017 Exemption Category List as of Monday, March 13. He will then joined by a compatriot of his choice from within the European Tour membership.
The first day's play on Saturday, May 6, will see the teams split into four groups of four - similar to the UEFA Champions League football group stages - before the top two teams from each group progress to the knockout stages, all of which will be contested on Sunday, May 7.
In the group stages, three points will be given for winning a match with one point given for a draw, while the matches themselves will be played in a greensomes matchplay format. Both days' play will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and around the globe on the tour's world feed network.
As well as innovation inside the ropes, there will be an abundance of originality for the fans to enjoy outside the ropes as the six holes wend their way around the centrally located fan zone at the Hertfordshire venue. In addition to amphitheatre-style stands around the tees and greens, there will be music and pyrotechnics on the first tee and at various points around the course, with all players wearing microphones to help bring fans closer to the action.
Players will also be encouraged to interact with the fans during play and in the intervals between their matches, including taking part in Q&A sessions in the fan zone, while live streaming on social media will further enhance the spectators' experience and maximise reach.
"We have said for some time that golf needs to modernise and introducing innovative new formats is a major part of achieving that aim, which is why I am delighted to announce the launch of GolfSixes," said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley. "We want to broaden the appeal of our sport to the millennial demographic and I think this format will do that, not only through the quick and exciting style of play, but also with the interactive digital experience fans will enjoy on site and the innovative TV coverage people will enjoy at home. We are also delighted to have brought a country versus country element to the fore. There is no question that the greatest atmosphere in golf comes every two years at the Ryder Cup and we are keen to try and emulate that national fervour in this format."