The European Tour has not stopped in its efforts to experiment with the game over the past few years. And this week brings yet another debutant tournament with the inaugural Belgian Knockout.
Taking place at Rinkven International Golf Club, the event is the first to be hosted in Belgium since 2000.
There’s a leaderboard. But it’s knockout. But it isn’t match-play. And the winner will play at least 90 holes of golf.
So how exactly will it work?
To start with a 144-man field will battle it out over 36 holes of stroke play over the first two days.
A cut will be made to leave only the top 64 in the field (qualification of any ties for 64th will be decided by a Friday evening sudden-death play-off).
Into the weekend and it’s knockout time.
The remaining 64 will be seeded and placed into straight knockout fixtures.
As opposed to match-play – usually used in knockout events in golf – the knockout fixtures here will be played over nine holes of stroke play. Like in leaderboard round, any ties after nine holes will be sent immediately to a sudden-death play-off.
The first knockout round will cut the field down to 32; the second will knock it in half again to 16 and the third down to eight. And that’s all by the end of Saturday.
So when Sunday comes around there will be just eight men left fighting for the title.
Sunday’s format, then, is identical to Saturday’s. We’ll have four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and lastly a final to crown the first Belgian Knockout champion.
Belgian superstar and world-number-60 Thomas Pieters is the tournament host and will be joined in the field by a selection of renowned names including Robert Karlsson, Chris Wood and fellow countryman Nicolas Colsaerts.
Rinkven International has two courses, a North and a South, the two opening 18-hole rounds will be made up of holes 1, 11, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 on the South and straight through 10 to 18 on the North. The course you’ll face in the knockout stages is pretty much pot luck.
Let us know who you’re backing this week.