Give the European Tour credit. Plenty of golf entities preach creativity and enterprise, but -- from new playing formats to driving range music and first tee fireworks -- the circuit continually puts those mantras into practice. Its latest venture wth rising star Thomas Pieters is further testament to this gung-ho spirit.
On Monday the tour announced the creation of the Belgian Knockout, a competition that will utilize a head-to-head stroke play TKO configuration. Opening rounds will conduct the usual stroke play format, narrowing the field to 64 players after 36 holes. From there, contestants will play stroke play matches over nine holes, with the knockout cadence continuing until a winner is crowned.
The tournament will be hosted by Pieters, a native of Belgium, in his hometown of Antwerp. It will be the country's first European Tour event in almost two decades.
“I think it’s going to be exciting,” said Pieters, who went 4-1 for Team Europe at the 2016 Ryder Cup. “We are going to see an innovative new format and it will make it really exciting for people who come along to watch and also for people watching it at home on TV.”
The Belgian Knockout will run from May 17-20, opposite the PGA Tour's AT&T Byron Nelson. It will be a full-fledged European event, counting towards the Race to Dubai.