LONDON – Powerplay Golf is giving a very old sport a couple of new twists.
Hoping to change the face of a sport often considered to be staid and boring, organizers of the three-event series are looking to bring in new fans by offering a faster pace and more excitement with two pins per green and only nine holes in a round.
“Stand by for something very special,” Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie said in a statement Wednesday. “Golf around the world is about to discover a new dimension.”
Montgomerie will be joined by U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell in a 12-player field that also includes former major winners Gary Player, John Daly and Ian Woosnam in a PowerPlay tournament in May at Celtic Manor.
In PowerPlay Golf, players can score different point totals depending on which of the two cups they go for on each green. The game is scored using a nine-hole “variation on golf’s Stableford points scoring system,” PowerPlay Golf said on its website.
Each player will get limited opportunities to putt to the black flag, which would be placed in a more difficult part of the green. If a player makes a birdie into that hole, more points are awarded.
On the final hole, all players can go for the black flag, where organizers said a “birdie wins points galore, and possibly the tournament … but failure to make par spells disaster.”
Player, a nine-time major winner, described the game’s appeal by thinking back to his days at the Masters, a tournament he won three times.
“You are standing in the middle of the 18th fairway at Augusta National tied for the lead. What do you do? Do you go for the pin? If you it hit it right you make birdie and win. If you don’t, you make bogey and lose,” Player said. “Risk versus reward – one of the toughest decisions a champion has to make.”
The event at Celtic Manor in Wales on May 30 is the inaugural tournament in the series, and the list of participants is likely to draw fans of the traditional game as as well as the newer version. The field also includes Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Paula Creamer and Helen Alfredsson.
The game is meant to “increase golf’s appeal to a wider sporting TV audience,” PowerPlay Golf said. The winner of the tournament at Celtic Manor will receive $163,000.