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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 229
P ELLEY, who has had successful involvements in American Football, the Winter Olympics, the NHL and Major League Baseball, appears hell-bent on dialing up the entertainment factor in a sport that has seen little real change to its format over the past 100-plus years. It might all sound a little like cricket’s Twenty20 juggernaut, which started as a bit of a hit and giggle but has rapidly transformed into the game’s most lucrative and popular format, but that’s because a Twenty20 style incursion is precisely where the European Tour is aiming. The Tour has already announced its own answer to Twenty20 – the GolfSixes, which will see two-man teams from 16 countries face off in shortened match play rounds. The inaugural GolfSixes event will be played in May at Centurion Club in England, with a million Euros up for grabs. It comes hot on the heels of the inaugural Hero Challenge, which took place in October a couple of days before the British Masters, and featured eight professionals and four celebrities in one-hole knockout contests on a specially-built hole with stadium seating for more than 2200 spectators. Played after dark, it featured neon lights and shooting flames, and the whole thing was done in an hour. And in another nod to cricket’s shortened format, while in Perth, Pelley even floated the idea of one day playing golf in stadiums, which he said could accommodate a six- hole, purpose-built course for a once-a-year showcase event. “I can see a day where that will be an event that would happen once a year as a celebration of our game,” the European Tour CEO said. “WE WANT TO MODERNISE AS MUCH AS WE POSSIBLY CAN. IN ORDER TO DO THAT, YOU HAVE TO UNLEASH YOUR IMAGINATION, AND WE’RE HAVING FUN DOING IT.” – EUROPEAN TOUR CEO, KEITH PELLEY
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