Golf Takes Lead from Twenty20 Cricket with ISPS Handa World Super 6
Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements
WITH all due respect to the ISPS Handa World Super 6 (which sounds more like a Twenty20 event than a golf tournament), this is a time of the season when the European Tour finds itself in limbo. After the fabulous golf, world-class fields and sensational courses of the desert swing, we somehow find ourselves in Australia for a one-off stop.
It is once again a time to look at the schedule and ask who on earth thinks it is a good idea to expect players to travel from Malaysia, where they have just been taking part in the Maybank Challenge, to Australia and then on to South Africa for the Joburg Open. And you may be surprised to learn that this tournament, being played at the sensational Lake Karrinyup Country Club, has actually attracted a pretty decent field.
It may not be a Twenty20 tournament, but it is golf's next best thing - a regular cut will fall after 36 holes before the field is further reduced to the top-24 players following 54 holes of regulation play, with any ties for 24th place being decided by a play-off. Those remaining players will then earn their places in a six-hole matchplay shoot-out event. Any matches tied after the six holes will be decided by playing the new Knockout Hole – a purpose-built 90-metre hole which will be constructed at Lake Karrinyup, with a new tee placed adjacent to the 18th fairway and utilising the 18th green.
The Knockout Hole will be played once and if a winner is still not decided, the competitors will return to the new tee and take on a nail-biting decider, with the victor decided on a nearest-the-pin contest where only the first shot counts. That player will then progress to the next round of the match play or, in the case of the final match, win the tournament.
It may not go down well with the purists, but the format is designed to encourage those top 24 golfers to take risks and try to score as many birdies as possible. We will see flags being attacked and players taking on shots that they would not otherwise contemplate. It should make for some thrilling entertainment.
Nobody is suggesting that we do this sort of thing every week, but golf needs innovation, and this is it. In many ways, it is a shame that it is being staged in Australia because it means that the tournament is unlikely to attract a huge TV audience. But if the players enjoy it - and they surely will - then what is to stop a similar event being staged in mainland Europe or even on the PGA Tour. It is a tri-sanctioned event, being played under the auspices of the European, Asian and Australasian Tours, and you can be sure that a lot of conversations were held before it was agreed to give the green light.
Following the disappointing withdrawal of Patrick Reed, Alex Noren headlines the field. The Swede has a technique - and a putting stroke - that is all his own, but he is a confidence player and his morale could not be any higher than it is right now. He is a golfer who is capable of producing sensational bursts of scoring and he would not be travelling all the way to Perth unless he believed that he had a very good chance of winning.
Louis Oosthuizen, who has been in sensational form of late, is also heading to Perth. There is not a better golf swing on the planet than the South African's, but the 2010 Open champion would be the first to admit that he does not win as many tournaments as he should. He always seems to be there or thereabouts but is forever tinkering with his putting stroke and grip - and it has held him back. For the time being at least, he has gone back to a conventional grip and it was nearly good enough to give him victory at TPC Scottsdale.
Also in the field is a young Australian called Curtis Luck, who is a golfer you are going to be hearing a great deal about in the years to come. He is the reigning US Amateur champion and has won a host of top amateur titles all around the globe. He will be competing in The Masters in April and it would be no surprise to see him finish in the top 20 - he is that good. And he is not in Perth to make up the numbers.
To Win: Louis Oosthuizen. Could watch this guy all day, every day
Each Way: Alex Noren. Proven winner
Patrick Reed. Will revel in this
Louis Oosthuizen. Should suit his game
Alex Noren. A birdie machine
Curtis Luck. Fantastic prospect
Daniel Popovic. Really good Australian
Thorbjorn Olesen. Capable of shooting the lights out
Peter Uihlein. Back to his best at last
SSP Chawrasia. Adores the heat
Sam Brazel. Already a winner this season
Marcus Fraser. Another who can make a lot of birdies
What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)
Tags: european tour