The World Super 6 Perth: a brilliant piece of innovating or an ill-conceived, poorly thought-out ‘freshie’?
Time, as ever, will tell. However, taking everything into consideration, it looks like it has a far better chance of being the latter. Basically, it will be this: 54 holes of traditional strokeplay golf across the first three days, with ‘an exciting knockout matchplay format for the fourth and final round’.
With me so far? This is where it gets complicated…
A cut will fall, as normal, after 36 holes before the field is then further reduced to 24 players following the third round, with any ties for 24th place decided by a play-off.
How does a 24-man field work for a 'knockout matchplay format'? Sixteen, yes. Thirty-two, yes. But 24?
Those 24 players then earn their places in the six-hole shoot-out, with any matches tied after the six holes decided by playing a new purpose-built, 90-metre Knockout Hole, adjacent to the 18th fairway and using the 18th green at Lake Karrinyup.
Okay. Deep breath.
Firstly, how does a 24-man field work for a ‘knockout matchplay format’? Sixteen, yes. Thirty-two, yes. But 24? Perhaps somebody at the European Tour could enlighten us.
Secondly, how much golf is actually going to be played on the final day? Multiple matches, each of up to six holes, sounds like a lot more than players would ordinarily play in a final round.
These are just two of the questions people are asking about this new event. There will no doubt be many more over the coming weeks and months before the tournament takes place next February.
If it flops, the European Tour’s chief executive Keith Pelley is going to have some serious questions to answer. Since assuming control of the organisation last year, he has positioned himself front and centre, cultivating lots of attention.
He has great energy and some fantastic ideas but, from what I’ve been told by several people close to the tour, he is far from universally popular. Great at talking, not so good at listening – that’s the line.
He thinks golf ‘needs to look at new and innovative formats’. I don’t necessarily disagree. I just don’t agree with his reported benevolent intentions. Events like the Perth one won’t get more people playing golf. It’s crazy to think they will. What they might do is stir more interest in the European Tour or inject some much needed momentum and interest in what is a struggling circuit.
Let's not try to pass off this event as being good for the game. It'll be good for the tour. Or not, as the case may be.
Ask yourself this: if innovation is so important to ‘golf’, why isn’t the PGA Tour doing it? Because it doesn’t need to, that’s why. It's massively successful. The European Tour isn’t. It has fallen far behind the PGA Tour to the point that it needs new ideas and fresh thinking. But, please, let’s not try to pass off this event as being good for the game. It’ll be good for the tour. Or not, as the case may be…
What will get more people playing golf? Making it a more affordable game to play. I’ve said this time and time again but it feels like nobody wants to listen. At present, it’s cost prohibitive for too many people. The start-up costs are considerable: clubs, clothes, shoes, accessories, green fees and, if you want to play it to any kind of a standard, lessons. In isolation, each can be relatively inexpensive if you shop around for good deals. But it’s the sum of the parts that’s required to get the most out of the game. And the sum adds up to a lot. Why more people don’t get that, I simply cannot fathom.
Anyway, best of luck to the European Tour with this new event. I suspect it will need it.
Ryder Cup fever has well and truly hit me. Two weeks today, the greatest golf event on the planet will tee off and, frankly, I CAN’T. BLOODY. WAIT. There’s nothing like the first tee of a Ryder Cup. If you’ve experienced it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you need to. It’s unlike anything else in sport. I just hope that, this year, it isn’t hijacked by the so-called ‘Guardians of the Ryder Cup’.
They’re the guys who dress up in the bright blue and yellow outfits (see above) and belt out songs adapted to celebrate and support the European team. “Bjorn In The USA”? That was them. So too “Kaymer Chameleon”. Funny stuff – the first time. They completely dominated the first tee at Gleneagles with their self-indulgent nonsense (and don’t tell me it’s not – after all, nobody can sing along if they don’t know the words) and they diluted rather than enhanced the atmosphere.
Look, it’s great that they clearly love the match – but so does everybody else there. The joke is old. The act is tired. If it’s really about the supporting the team and not about laddish attention-seeking, why not just blend in? Why make it all about you? Either way, good luck making yourselves heard above sports-mad Minnesotans.
This week, I have been… staggered to learn that 1,400 golf courses have closed in Florida since 2000. FOURTEEN-HUNDRED. More than 80 per year - and that’s just in Florida. A very worrying trend.
What a statement of intent by Nike Golf to sign Jason Day to an apparel and footwear deal. If the reports are accurate, and they’ve managed to get him wearing their hat, too, it’s even more impressive. Rumours are already circulating that Dustin Johnson might soon join him in making the move. Rumours of the ‘Swoosh’s demise, it would appear, have been greatly exaggerated.
And finally… A lot has been made this week of Dustin Johnson spitting during the BMW Championship. “Down with this sort of thing” and rah, rah, rah. Fair enough. It’s a dirty habit. Yet, on the other hand, people celebrate Miguel Angel Jimenez for his love of drinking Rioja and smoking cigars. “What a character,” they chirp. “His attitude is so refreshing,” they gush. Anyone else see the blatant double standard here?
Michael McEwan / The Cut Line
Log-on every Friday morning to read The Cut Line, a weekly blog by bunkered's Michael McEwan.