The European Tour’s innovative six-hole knockout format is heading to Portugal this week for GolfSixes Cascais. The fun-filled short-form tournament continues to grow and there are exciting new developments once again.
The first thing to know is the fast and fun modified Greensomes match play format. All team members will have the opportunity to tee off on every hole, before each team selects which ball they wish to use to finish out the hole.
From there, the player whose tee shot was not selected will take on the second shot before the two team-mates take alternate shots.
The team with the lowest score wins that hole. For winning a hole, the team receives a point. For example, if Team Portugal win the first hole against Team England, the score will be 1-0. If Team England win the next hole the score will be 1-1.
The matches will be scored in a standard match play format, so if a team is leading by three or four holes with two to play, or leading by three or two holes with one to play, victory will be theirs. With only six holes, no match will finish on the third hole.
A total of 16 teams, divided into four groups of four — A, B, C and D — will compete over six holes and all four teams in each group will face each other on Day One. Three points will be awarded to a winning team with one point awarded to each team for a tie and no points for the defeated team.
In the event of a tie, matches will go to a play-off and both teams will battle it out on the sixth and final hole once again. If the match is still tied after the first extra hole, it will be settled the second time out through a closest to the pin challenge involving both players on the two teams. The team with closest of the four shots will win the match.
At the conclusion of round-robin play, the top two teams in each group will advance to the final day of GolfSixes Cascais as the tournament shifts to the knockout phase.
Shorts and lasers
GolfSixes Cascais is by no means a traditional golf tournament, and the fun and inclusive format has been a vehicle for the European Tour to introduce and promote new concepts with the hope of attracting new and young audiences.
It seems like just yesterday when the European Tour introduced a new regulation to allow players wear shorts in practice rounds and Pro-Ams in 2016.
And now, for the first time, European Tour players will be permitted to wear shorts in competitive rounds. Players will also, and this is a big one, be able to use distance measuring devices in competition for the first time in European Tour history.
All of this excitement will be captured by drones flying overhead, which will provide live coverage of the event.
Mixing it up
For the second straight year, female teams will add an exciting new dimension to the GolfSixes Cascais field.
England Women will once again field a team, comprised this year of Meghan MacLaren - a two-time Ladies European Tour winner and runner-up at the Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla - and three-time Ladies European Tour winner Florentyna Parker.
Germany Women will make their GolfSixes debut as promising young duo Esther Henseleit and Laura Fuenfstueck join the field.
Henseleit finished in the top 30 of last week’s U.S. Women’s Open while Fuenfstueck has finished in the top ten on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit twice.
The pool hole
The sixth and final hole of GolfSixes Cascais will no doubt be filled with fun and excitement with closely contested matches, but it will feature a unique atmosphere perhaps unlike any other in world golf.
That is because, in another European Tour first, the tee box will sit directly over a swimming pool and surrounded by an open lounging area for VIPs and fans. A DJ will also be blasting out music throughout. Yes, you’re right, this golf tournament really is unlike any other!