Darren Clarke heads major field in experimental new golf tournament played over 14 holes
DARREN Clarke and Angel Cabrera will be among four major winners teeing off in a city-based golf league in India next month in a format modelled on the country's Twenty20 cricket league.
Masterminded by Indian golfer Shiv Kapur, the league will also feature former US Open champion Michael Campbell, 2002 PGA Championships winner Rich Beem, multiple European Tour winner David Howell and Asian Tour stalwart Thaworn Wiratchant.
"When I saw the Indian Premier League (Twenty20 tournament), I thought it made cricket look cool. I wanted to do the same in golf, without taking away the seriousness of course," said Kapur, whose lone Asian Tour win came in 2005.
"It would be a great opportunity for the local players to team up with some of the big names. It would be an experience they would cherish for the rest of their life," the 30-year-old golfer said.
Scheduled on Feb 8-10 at a course near Mumbai, the inaugural league will feature two day-night rounds of strokeplay, followed by the third and final round of best-ball format.
Each round will be played over 14 holes, instead of the regular 18, by the teams comprising four golfers, both local and international.
"We decided three-hour round would be ideal from TV viewership point of view," explained Kapur.
Sri Lanka cricket captain Mahela Jayawardene is promoter of the $400,000 league's Colombo-based franchise.
"We are starting with one team from Sri Lanka and the idea is to add more international franchises going forward," Kapur said.
The organisers were yet to finalise the remaining three franchises and said a golfers' auction would take place in the next couple of weeks, he added.