Ryder Cup stars to play new St Albans GolfSixes tournament
PUBLISHED: 17:12 22 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:09 23 March 2017
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Ryder Cup stars Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan will represent England at the inaugural GolfSixes European Tour tournament near St Albans this May.
National pride will be at stake when the innovative GolfSixes event tees off at The Centurion Club over the weekend of Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7.
Flying the flag for England in the new six-hole competition will be Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan, who were both rookie members of last year’s European Ryder Cup team.
They will be competing against pairs from 15 other nations, including USA, Thailand and Italy, at the Centurion course, which is located on the road from Leverstock Green to St Albans.
Chris Wood is looking forward to seeing home fans gather at The Centurion Club.
He said: “Sully and I are good mates and I think we make a good team.
“We’ve both had amazing experiences in the past representing Europe at the Ryder Cup, and England at the World Cup of Golf.
“With the countries who are taking part, there could be some pretty intriguing rivalries thrown up and I’m sure we’ll see plenty of passion from the players and the fans.”
The new six-hole format starts on Saturday, May 6 with teams split into four groups of four, similar to the UEFA Champions League football group stages.
Competing countries and players
Full list of countries and players (in order of ranking)
1) ENGLAND: Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan
2) ITALY: Matteo Manassero, Renato Paratore
3) THAILAND: Thongchai Jaidee, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
4) INDIA: S.S.P Chawrasia, Chikkarangappa S
5) AUSTRALIA: Sam Brazel, Scott Hend
6) DENMARK: Thorbjørn Olesen, Lucas Bjerregaard
7) FRANCE: Alexander Levy, Grégory Bourdy
8) NETHERLANDS; Joost Luiten, Reinier Saxton
9) SWEDEN: Kristoffer Broberg, Joakim Lagergren
10) SPAIN: Pablo Larrazábal, Alejandro Cañizares
11) SCOTLAND: Richie Ramsay, Marc Warren
12) SOUTH AFRICA: Darren Fichardt, Brandon Stone
13) USA: Paul Peterson, David Lipsky
14) WALES: Bradley Dredge, Jamie Donaldson
15) BELGIUM: Nicolas Colsaerts, Thomas Detry
16) PORTUGAL: Ricardo Gouveia, José-Filipe Lima
The top two teams from each group will progress to the knockout stages – the quarter-finals, the semi-finals, a third/fourth place play-off match, and the final – all of which will be contested on Sunday, May 7.
In the group stages, three points will be given for victory, with one point awarded for a draw, while the matches themselves will be played in a greensomes match play format.
Chris added: “It’s a fresh, new format and I think that’s very welcome in golf right now.
“It should be an entertaining weekend, and I’m interested to see how it all works with the innovations inside and outside the ropes.”
Denmark’s Thorbjørn Olesen already has national pedigree after claiming the World Cup of Golf title for his country in 2016.
This time he will team up with 26-year-old Lucas Bjerregaard in search of victory for Denmark at the fast-paced new event.
Nicolas Colsaerts, Ricardo Gouveia, Thongchai Jaidee, Alexander Levy, Joost Luiten, Matteo Manassero and Brandon Stone are among the European Tour stars who will also take part in the event.
GolfSixes will feature amphitheatre-style stands around the tees and greens, music and pyrotechnics, an activity-packed fanzone and player engagement, bringing fans closer to the action.
Olesen said: “There aren’t too many opportunities to play team golf, and it definitely adds an extra edge when you are representing your country.
“I had a lot of fun playing for Denmark at the World Cup of Golf last year. It was a proud moment to lift the trophy, and I would love to make it two in a row for Denmark.
“GolfSixes is a really interesting concept and I’m looking forward to being involved in the first ever edition of the tournament.
“I think it’s important to try out new things, and hopefully it captures the imagination of fans, too.
“Lucas and I will be hoping to see some Danes amongst the crowd.”
There could be an added edge for home fans, as reigning BMW PGA Champion Wood and three-time European Tour winner Sullivan may find themselves in a home nations head-to-head against their rivals from Scotland and Wales.
After claiming the winning point for Europe at the 2014 Ryder Cup, Jamie Donaldson will be aiming to put on a similar display for Wales when he teams up with Bradley Dredge to chase GolfSixes glory.
While, with three European Tour wins apiece, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and Marc Warren will be determined to call on all of their experience to raise the Saltire above the Centurion Club on Sunday, May 7.
Tickets to see them in action can currently be snapped up for just £6 at www.golfsixes.com/tickets
A family of four can have a great day out for under £20, with children’s tickets (10 to 17 years old) available for £3 and free entry for under-10s.
Both days’ play will also be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and around the globe on the Euro Tour’s world feed network.