European Tour adds female players to GolfSixes

This year’s GolfSixes tournament will feature both male and female players in a move that marks a first for a European Tour-organised team event.

The initiative has been made possible after the men’s European Tour reached an agreement with the Ladies European Tour (LET) and the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) ahead of the second edition of the event, which runs from May 5-6 at the Centurion Club in St Albans, England.

Thomas Bjørn and Catriona Matthew, the captains of Europe’s Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup teams, will form a team during the event, while two all-women’s teams will also compete alongside the 11 men’s teams. A fourth and final wild card team will be revealed next month.

An ‘England Women’s Team' will feature Georgia Hall and Charley Hull, with a ‘European Women’s Team’ to comprise England’s Mel Reid and Suzann Pettersen of Norway. All 16 teams will compete for a total prize fund of €1m ($1.2m), with the winners to receive €100,000 each.

This year’s Ryder Cup, which runs from September 28-30 at Le Golf National near Paris, will also feature a showcase GolfSixes event played between members of the junior Ryder Cup teams.

Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard and Thorbjørn Olesen won the inaugural GolfSixes tournament in 2017 and the European Tour confirmed last month that the event would feature on its calendar again this year.

The event will feature four groups of four teams, with the top two teams from each group progressing to the knockout stages. Both players in each team will hit tee shots on each hole, with the best shot selected before the team alternate play of all subsequent shots required to complete the hole.

This year’s tournament will again feature a shot clock along with a fan zone in the middle of the course.

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: “GolfSixes is something that we championed last year to do something a little different, not just in terms of a different format, but also to bring a different form of entertainment from a golf perspective.

“There was a lot of talk about what we were going to do differently this year while remaining credible but entertaining, and today’s announcement is the result of those discussions. It’s a natural progression and I think the potential for GolfSixes in terms of the overall brand and format is terrific.

“The concept of Thomas and Catriona playing together is a wonderful idea and then to be able to add in four of Europe’s leading women players in Georgia, Charley, Mel and Suzann is fantastic and will make for a great event. We thank both the LET and the LPGA for helping make this happen.”