The UL International Crown offered a fun wrinkle at last year's event, with the teams arriving to the first tee via entrance music. Which made us jokingly wonder what jams our favorite males golfers would select if given the choice. It looks like that wish has become reality.
This week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship the European Tour is playing music on the driving range and intends to accompany players to the tee box by song.
"We’re in the entertainment business,” European Tour CEO Keith Pelley said to the AP. “As long as you are always conscious of the integrity and protection of the game’s magic. But you are always looking to improve your product, in any business that you run.”
While it's an interesting wrinkle, Pelley is aware not all will be on board with the idea. However, Pelley insisted this isn't a gimmick.
“There will be a time in five years when you’ll say, ‘You mean there was a time when music wasn’t on the range?’ ” he remarked. “I think the range represents a great opportunity that we have not explored in this game. It is a great opportunity for fans to sit and watch players and this unbelievable talent that they have.”
Remarkably, it seems the most of the players are on board.
“It keeps you kind of relaxed on the driving range,” Dustin Johnson said. “Have a little music going kind of keeps the mood light. Hopefully it will attract some other people to come out and watch and enjoy the game of golf.”
Henrik Stenson was also among those for the added tunes. “I’m all for it,” the Open champion said. “I’m sure not everyone is going to be delighted, maybe. But I would imagine the majority of players and the majority of the fans will like it. It creates a nice atmosphere, and I think that could be a good way going forward.”
Pelley promised similar acoustic setup at the BMW PGA Championship in May, as well as at other events in the European Tour’s Rolex Series.