Dave Tindall

Across the Pond

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GolfSixes Preview

Monday, May 01, 2017


Forget the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, if you want real kooky, check out the new event on the European Tour this week – the GolfSixes at Centurion Club in England.

 

The clue is in the name. It’s golf Jim but not as we know it.

 

As in New Orleans, it’s a pairs format but matches are played over just six holes.

 

We’ve actually had a hint of this already on the European Tour with the World Super 6 in Perth. In that event, it was standard strokeplay for 54 holes before the tournament switched to six-hole match play on Sunday.

 

The latter is pretty similar to what we’re getting this week although there are some obvious differences.

 

Firstly, GolfSixes features team golf with the 32-man field split into two-man pairs from 16 nations.

 

Secondly, the style of play is Greensomes. That means both players hit tee-shots, they choose the best one and it becomes alternate shot after that.

 

Thirdly, the tournament is played over just two days, the weekend of May 6-7.

 

Let’s go a little deeper with the explanations…..

 

 

The format

 

To help with familiarity, the European Tour is using Champions League football comparisons. So, to begin with, the 16 teams are split into four groups of four. The winner of each head-to-head match is awarded three points, a draw gets one point and a loss is zero points. Note also that you won’t see any mention of 1up or 1down. If both teams win a couple of holes each in the first four, the score in that match will be displayed as ‘2-2’. Whether it be a 4-0 win or a 1-0 win (e.g. five holes halved and just one won), the winning team still only gets three points for the victory although winning margins could be crucial as explained later.

 

Group stages – Day 1

 

Again, like Champions League football, the top two in each group of four progress to the knockout phase. The analogy is extended should we see teams finish on the same number of points. If that’s the case, the equivalent of goal difference is used i.e. who had the best margins of victory. Therefore, getting a 4-0 win could make the difference. One possible group table could be a team tops it with seven points (two wins and a draw), two others have four points (one win, one draw, one defeat each) and one has a single point (no wins, a draw and two defeats). If the two with four points had exactly the same winning/losing margins in their three matches, a shortened play-off on hole 18 is used to determine who would advance. 

 

Knockout – Day 2

 

These begin on Sunday morning and open with quarter-final matches for the eight teams who qualified on Saturday. It’s then semis and final. Oh, there’s also a 3rd/4th play-off. Any match that is still tied after six holes goes to a shortened play-off hole on No. 18. They keep playing it until a winner emerges.

 

What else to look out for?

 

Players have their own walk-on music and big screens are located on both tee and green.

 

Shot clock: Players have 40 seconds to hit their shots otherwise incur a stroke penalty. Digital clocks are displayed on tee, fairway and green to show us who is about to get a bad time.

 

 

The Course – The Centurion

 

Designed by Simon Gidman in 2013, the official website says the course, a new design based in the south of England, “explores existing pine woodland on holes one to five” while the undulating greens are Bentgrass. The European Tour adds: “Many of the carries and rough areas feature indigenous fescue grasses which have occasionally been added across approaches to greens or across fairways to give the course a distinct links feel.”

The six holes of the Centurion Club to be used, making it a 2,276-yard par 24, are:

 

1st: Par 3, 166 yards

2nd: Par 4, 476 yards

3rd: Par 5, 516 yards

4th: Par 4, 436 yards

5th: Par 3, 136 yards

6th: Par 5, 546 yards  

 


The Weather

Despite some rain in the build-up, the two tournament days of Saturday and Sunday are due to be sunny with temperatures around 60 degrees. You'd take that for England at this time of year. The interesting element could be the wind and it could get gusty both days.



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Dave Tindall is former golf editor at Sky Sports.com in the UK and has been writing betting previews for the European Tour since 1997. He can be reached via e-mail on tindall_david@hotmail.com and on Twitter @davetindallgolf.
Email :Dave Tindall


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