GolfSixes to be streamed on BBC digital platforms


GolfSixes moves from England to Portugal this year

Golf’s new short-form version will be broadcast free to air for the first time with BBC digital coverage of this week’s GolfSixes event in Portugal.

Ireland are the defending champions in the two-day event at Oitavos Dunes near Lisbon on Friday and Saturday.

There are 16 teams including women’s pairings from England and Germany.

The format is the European Tour’s equivalent of Twenty20 cricket, with matches lasting only six holes and played in a more informal atmosphere.

The event will be streamed across the BBC Sport website and app, the iPlayer and the BBC red button television service.

Players will be allowed to compete in shorts and use laser distance finders for the first time in an attempt to help speed up play.

The greensome alternate-shot format, where pairs are allowed to select the most advantageous tee shot, will be used for matches.

There are four groups of four teams, with the top two from each section progressing to the knockout stages.

GolfSixes Cascais is the third running of a tournament regarded as vital to boosting the sport’s popularity among younger fans, and the European Tour is keen to take it to the widest possible audience.

“We are committed to growing and developing this format,” said Rufus Hack, the tour’s chief content officer.

“We have no doubt fans watching on BBC digital channels will enjoy the excitement GolfSixes Cascais provides, as nations from across the world – men and women – battle it out for the title.”

Former British Masters champion Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan will defend the title they won at The Centurion Club last year. They are in the same group as Sweden, Thailand and the England women’s team.

Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan won the second GolfSixes event

Meghan MacLaren, who was second in the Jordan Mixed event earlier this year, teams up with Solheim Cup player Florentyna Parker.

The Ladies European Tour player is particularly relishing the team aspect of the event.

“It’s just more fun,” she wrote in her European Tour player blog. “It gives you a break from the routine.

“The same with women coming to play in what’s technically a European Tour event. It’s just cool to have a different audience to normal and to just see how a men’s event is put on and run.”

Tom Lewis and Paul Waring team up for England’s men’s team and have been drawn in the same group as Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and David Law, with India and Portugal in the same section.

Ryder Cup hero Jamie Donaldson partners Stuart Manley in a Wales side that has been bracketed with Australia, France and the German women’s team of Esther Henseleit and Laura Fuenfstueck.

The South African pairing of George Coetzee, a four-time European Tour winner, and Scottish Open champion Brandon Stone looks particularly strong and is favoured to reach the knock-out matches between the eight qualifiers on Saturday.

GolfSixes is a format that is being adopted at different levels of the game. The Golf Foundation has established junior leagues in 22 UK regions involving 112 clubs and 1,500 players, 30% of whom are girls.

It is hoping the project gains further momentum with the added exposure for this week’s tournament.

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