At the European Tour, our goal is to make sure we are ‘Driving Golf Further’ through our guiding principles of being innovative, inclusive and global.
Innovation plays a huge part in reaching these goals, whether it be through the creation of award-winning content or pioneering new golf tournaments.
So, let’s take a closer look at just some of the ways we changed the game in 2019.
Working with the European Disabled Golf Association
This year, the European Tour introduced two EDGA tournaments at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai – both Rolex Series events on the European Tour – where the world’s best disabled golfers competed on the same course over 36 holes, during tournament days.
The first of these came at Renaissance Club, where ten players from the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability took part in the 36 hole event. Brendan Lawlor took home the spoils after carding a brilliant second round of 71 over the same layout the European Tour players faced later in the day.
The latter of the two events, the EDGA Dubai Finale, was played alongside the DP World Tour Championship, which saw eight of the world’s best disabled golfers compete. It was Englishman George Groves, who is ranked number one in the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability, who came out on top to claim victory.
Mixed groups at the ISPS HANDA Vic Open
The ISPS HANDA Vic Open proved to be a unique tournament for a whole host of reasons. Firstly, the event saw the European Tour and the PGA of Australia’s male golfers play the event alongside the LPGA Tour and ALPG Tour’s female golfers, on the same course for the same prize money.
There was also a world first, with the first ever mixed gender group formed in a golf event. This comprised of Manon de Roey of the LPGA Tour, the European Tour’s Gavin Moynihan, and the PGA of Australia’s Dale Williamson.
Scotland’s David Law would collect his first European Tour title at the tournament, with Céline Boutier winning the women’s event.
Husband and wife go head to head in Jordan Mixed Open
The Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla brought together an equal number of golfers from the Staysure Tour, European Challenge Tour and the Ladies European Tour to compete against each other in a 123-player field, for one prize.
Daan Huizing won the event, despite a strong challenge from the LET’s Meghan MacLaren, who found herself leading heading into the final round. There was also another world first at the event as Scott and Kylie Henry became the first married couple to compete against one another in a professional golf tournament.
Niall Horan gives back to the game in Northern Ireland
Formerly the Northern Irish Open, the ISPS HANDA World Invitational Men | Women, presented by Modest! Golf Management drove inclusivity and innovation on the European Tour, once again.
Hosted on the Challenge Tour, the event saw Challenge Tour players compete alongside women from the LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and players from Asia and Australia, for separate prize funds – similar to the ISPS HANDA Vic Open.
The former One Direction star was also present at the event to oversee the prize ceremony - bravo Niall!
Improving the fan experience with our Live World Feed
Finding new ways to elevate our Live World Feed service has also been imperative at the European Tour, to offer golf fans a more immersive and entertaining television experience.
We have continued freshen up the way we present on air graphics with our Paint System, and our team have also made huge strides in improving course audio by adding additional microphones - along with more in-play interviews with players.
Pool time at GolfSixes Cascais
The GolfSixes moved to Cascais, Portugal, where 16 teams of two players took part in the two day event, played over a series of six holes. The first day splits the teams into four groups of four, with the winner of each match the team with the most holes won after six holes. Like football, teams are awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero for a loss.
The top two teams progress from each group to the knockout stages. The quarter-finals, the semi-finals, a third/fourth place play-off and the final are all played on the second and final day. Adding to the excitement, the sixth hole was played over the swimming pool of the Oitavos Dunes hotel, with Thailand sealing victory in a nearest the pin play-off at this hole.
The introduction of the European Tour Innovation Hub
Launched as a partnership between the European Tour and Tata Communications, a leading global digital infrastructure provider, the European Tour innovation hub is a contest that calls on start-ups around the world to develop creative new solutions and concepts to enhance the game of golf.
By finding these ideas, they can then be developed commercially with support from the Tour’s business development team, venture capital and Tata Communications.