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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 319
COVER rarely it seems, pure golf issues have been few and far between. The lure of the lucrative and luxurious PGA Tour and life in low tax, year round summer climates like Florida does still attract some of the biggest names like Rory McIlroy, away from their home Tour. But rarely though do they turn their backs completely. And even some of those who spend the majority of their time in the US seem more than willing to lend a hand at home. The player involvement and creativity of the European Tour’s social media presence is, alongside the varied formats, one of the areas it is head and shoulders above its bigger PGA Tour brother. The recent ‘Content Committee’ videos starring Eddie Pepperell, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Thomas Bjorn and Colin Montgomerie are proof enough, without even considering the back log of sketches, spoofs and heartfelt content the Tour has delivered over the years. Europe’s willingness to embrace and involve new ideas like this surely comes from Pelley’s direction, and as a country where tournament golf is not what it once was, Australia has rightfully embraced the European Tour and Pelley with open arms, with the potential for even greater partnership involving the Australian Open and a month long, four tournament European Tour swing. Yes, the PGA Tour has lured this week’s defending champion Aphibarnrat to the Genesis Open. But there remains a bevy of up and comers and experienced European Tour players ready to take on the unique challenge of playing both stroke and match play in one event. And when factoring in the career changing opportunities on offer to young Aussies playing a rare European Tour event on home soil there is even more reason to get behind the event and Tour’s presence here. Last week’s Vic Open rightfully drew great interest from around the world and is always worth celebrating for its uniqueness. Pelley and his Tour should be lauded for keeping the essence of the event, when it would have been easy to put up the ropes of officialdom, both metaphorically and physically in the form of gallery ropes, that typically go hand in hand with the world’s biggest tournaments. But this week’s event deserves its place in the sun too. A format of stroke play that is more sprint than the traditional 72-hole marathon due to cuts made on Friday and Saturday, before the unpredictability of six-hole matches takes over is an idea so far out of left field it is proving just right. And in no way is it a surprise that the European Tour are the ones getting right behind it.
GA Express 318