SPORTS

Innovative or too confusing? Golf's World Super 6 set to go

New and innovative or too confusing? Either way, the World Super 6 which begins with stroke play Thursday at Lake Karrinyup near Perth, Western Australia, and concludes with a 24-man match-play and knockout round on Sunday, is definitely outside the box of a conventional golf tournament.

It also includes nearest-to-the-pins to determine match-play winners, and a countback tiebreaker to determine who gets first-round byes on the Sunday. That's a system more often used in club competitions to determine who wins the monthly championship or gets a ball in the rundown.

Sanctioned by the European, Asian and PGA of Australia tours, the tournament hasn't attracted a strong field, particularly from Europe. The low prize money — 1.75 million Australian dollars ($1.34 million), with A$291,660 ($224,000) to the winner — likely hasn't helped.

But what it lacks in prize money, the tournament format makes up for its uniqueness over the final two rounds.

And here's where it gets complicated, so complicated that the PGA of Australia sent out a "decoder" media release to help explain the weekend.

The usual cut will be made on Friday after the second round, reducing the field to 65 professionals and ties. After the third round on Saturday, there will be a further cut to 24 players who will advance to six-hole match play on Sunday until a champion is decided.

If there are any ties for the 24th position, the players to advance will be determined by a playoff after the conclusion of the third round.

The top eight players after the third round will be given a bye in the opening round of match play. If there are ties for the first eight, they will be decided by a score countback based on the last 18, 9, 6, 3 and last-played hole.

Any matches not decided after the six-hole match play on Sunday will be determined by playing the so-called "knockout hole."

A purpose-built 90-meter hole has been constructed at Lake Karrinyup with a new tee placed adjacent to the 18th fairway and utilizing the 18th green. It will be played out once and if players remain tied, they will return to the new tee and one shot, nearest to the pin will decide the winner.

So the tournament champion could potentially be determined by a nearest-to-the-pin.

"It's nice that we're trying new things, and I think it's going to be nice for the crowds and the TV viewers," Alex Noren of Sweden, the top-ranked player in the tournament at No. 11, said on Tuesday.

"I think anything where the crowd experiences new ways for us pros to play the game is good."

Earlier this week, the European Tour added a new six-hole team event to the schedule. GolfSixes will make its debut at the Centurion Club north of London on May 6-7, featuring two-man teams from 16 countries competing for 1 million euros ($1.06 million).

"We have said for some time that golf needs to modernize and introducing innovative new formats is a major part of achieving that aim," said Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour.

At Perth, the other top contenders are 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark. Oosthuizen won the 2016 Perth International at Lake Karrinyup, and Olesen took the title there in 2014.

Although the format is similar to one tried unsuccessfully by the PGA Tour of Australasia in 2011, it will no doubt be watched carefully by those with an interest in the sport.

In the end, the final-round match-play setup could leave many golfers who are accustomed to playing a full 18 holes on the Sunday scrambling for flights out of Perth by mid-morning.

"It's going to be an interesting format," said India's Gaganjeet Bhullar, a seven-time winner on the Asian Tour. "With the match play on Sunday, it's going to be a quick entry and exit to the finals."