Monday 11 December 2017

Lowry and McDowell playing in era of change

Shane Lowry. Photo: Getty Images
Shane Lowry. Photo: Getty Images
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Change is looming on the international golfing circuit as the key influencers look to the future, writes Liam Kelly.

The sands are shifting, slowly but steadily, as Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell battle away in the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf at Kingston Heath GC in Melbourne. Lowry and McDowell could gain a long-term advantage from playing the 72-hole event which features two days of foursomes and two of fourballs.

This format is being adopted for the 2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC of Louisiana next April in a move to enhance the attraction of the event for players and spectators.

Team golf, as exemplified in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, has its merits, particularly as a variation on the 72-hole, individual strokeplay format on all the Tours.

In fact, Keith Pelley, the European Tour's chief executive, believes new initiatives are needed to breathe new life into the pro game and make it attractive to younger viewers.

Pelley told 'Golf World' magazine: "Golf needs to change and we need to be innovative. We can't accept that the 72-hole tournament week after week, with as many tournaments as we have around the world is the future in 10 or 15 years. I just don't think it is."

Golf fans can expect to see more innovations and alterations in formats as part of that movement to capture the interest of the so-called 'millennials'. This will bring a greater emphasis on social media, 'gimmicky' events such as golf under floodlights, and possibly one-day pro tournaments.

The 2020 Olympics in Japan will include golf, but the organisers are likely to change from the individual strokeplay format in Rio.

Pelley has made a number of references recently to the idea of shortening rounds of competitive golf from 18 holes to nine or 12 holes because of the time pressures of modern life.

One thing will not change - the players will still be playing for huge sums of money.

The World Cup of Golf prize fund is €7.5 million ($8m), with the winning team sharing €2.4 million.

World Cup of Golf

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Irish Independent

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