The inaugural ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth is just weeks away, and if the reaction from some of our leading players is anything to go by, it could be here to stay as a European Tour co-sanctioned event.
The ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and European Tour will introduce a world-first this year with the staging of inaugural ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth. Featuring 54 holes of stroke play before the final 24 players battle it out over a dramatic final day, six-hole shootout, the World Super 6 Perth tournament will be played at Lake Karrinyup Country Club from 16-19 February, 2017.
"The format sounds very interesting," said Western Australian great Nick O'Hern, who beat Tiger Woods twice at the World Match Play Championships.
"If I come back home to play in it hopefully I can make it to the final day. I've always loved match play."
Taking inspiration from the successful Surf Coast Knockout down at Torquay, the World Super 6 Perth will see a regular cut fall after 36 holes before the field is then further reduced to the top-24 players following 54 holes of regulation play, with any ties for 24th place being decided in a playoff.
Those remaining players will then earn their places in the six-hole shootout.
Any matches tied after the six holes will be decided by playing the new shootout 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.
"I've spoken to few European Tour players and they're intrigued by the concept," says 2013 ISPS HANDA Perth International Champion Jin Jeong.
"It's important to try something different. I love match play and it's going to be good for the crowds."
Nine-time PGA Tour of Australasia winner Peter Lonard took a self-deprecating view on the new format, joking it may actually be the boost his evergreen career needs.
"After 30 years I still haven't learnt to master traditional four-round tournaments so if I can work this Super 6 format out I'll be happy," he said.
"If it gets the crowds involved in the game and encourages them to get out and watch other tournaments then I'm all for it."
Aussie European Tour star Wade Ormsby likened the World Super 6 Perth to tour school.
"Having to make that top-24 cut-off will feel like a tour school – there will certainly be some added pressure," he said.
"Everyone loves coming down to Australia to play our courses so having a tournament with a point of difference will only enhance that interest. I'm sure the European Tour will get right behind it. The game does take a lot of time and it's hard for people to sacrifice that time to come out and watch us play so this should lend itself to a better spectacle."
CEO of the PGA of Australia and PGA Tour of Australasia, Brian Thorburn said the World Super 6 Perth was designed to retain the traditions of the game whilst appealing to a broader market.
"This is an exciting time for international golf as we launch a golf tournament that is set to change the way people view golf," he said.
A huge proponent for golf's need to adapt and find a shortened format, Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of the European Tour, is excited to see the World Super 6 Perth make its debut in 2017.
"This initiative was something that we spoke about at great length to our Tournament Committee, led by Chairman Thomas Bjørn," said Pelley.
"We are thrilled to participate in this because, at the European Tour, we believe that golf needs to look at new and innovative formats."
The groundbreaking ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth will also showcase the changing face of Perth and attract millions of dollars in exposure for Western Australia.
"I think this type of competition will appeal to all golfers, but especially to a younger demographic, and will encourage competitors to play aggressive and attacking golf," said Western Australian Premier and Tourism Minister Colin Barnett.
"Golf is very popular throughout the world, especially Europe and Asia, and has a high appeal for many people in some of our top tourism markets, including Singapore, China, Malaysia and the UK.
"The World Super 6 Perth will deliver valuable national and international media coverage of WA throughout the four-day broadcast, not only through the stunning scenery at Lake Karrinyup, but also through vignettes and billboards shown throughout play."
While the World Super 6 Perth's match play format can be potentially brutal for the 54-hole leader, match play specialist O'Hern has some simple words of advice.
"It's a bit like a tennis match – it's you versus one other guy. In the world match play, 64 plays 1 and 1 might get beat … that's what it's all about.
"It may be a bitter pill to swallow but in the World Super 6 Perth you've got to suck it up and play your best."
The World Super 6 Perth will be played at Lake Karrinyup Country Club from 16-19 February and will form part of both the 2017 European Tour Race to Dubai and the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.
For more information on the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth, go to www.worldsuper6perth.com
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