European Tour Highlights 2016
It’s quite easy to say that the past year the European Tour has simply been the best in the biz in showcasing golfs funny side, from world record challenges to daring interviews the European Tour has had it all.
The Mannequin Challenge
It was the calm before the storm ahead of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship and what else was there to do but join the viral-video craze of the ‘Mannequin Challenge’, showcasing some of the best players in the world.
Like most internet trends, it’s fair to say that the Mannequin Challenge has been over done just a tad! Everyone has had a go, from James Corden to your local post office, and the novelty of it has been lost. This didn’t stop the guys over on the European Tour, who instead produced one of the best ones out there! Take a look for yourself..
How many players did you spot? The likes of Masters champion Danny Willett, Martin Kaymer, ‘Beef’ and the Champion Golfer of the year Henrik Stenson all got involved, but who stole the show?
— Harvey Jamison (@HarveyJamison) November 16, 2016
Padraig Harrington produced a little gem for fans!
Unveiling of the Hero Challenge
It was the shoot-outs of all shoot-outs for the chosen professionals, two days before the British Masters began at The Grove.
The action took place under the floodlights on a specially constructed 156-yard par three on The Grove’s 18th hole, watched on by a crowd of 2,200 fans.
The one-hole knockout contest at The Grove was eventually won by Frenchman Alexander Levy who claimed a £10,000 first prize for charity, after defeating Sweden’s Alex Noren in the final as well as fending off the likes of Lee Westwood, Andy Sullivan, Shane Lowry and Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston.
— Paul Mac (@PaulMac69) October 11, 2016
The spin-off tournament, looked to rival that of the Phoenix Waste Managements stadium atmosphere 16th hole, but hosted a celebrity challenge, which saw former cricketer Shane Warne become the victor of the four-man celebrity shootout, defeating Kevin Pietersen, Brian McFadden and Piers Morgan.
Not only did this prove to be a hit with the crowds and TV audiences, but gave golf another night to showcase its future potential and willingness to adapt to shorter and fun ways to introduce competition in the game.
Levy, the Hero Challenge champion, went onto praise the tournament saying;
“This was similar to a tournament in that you want to hit a good shot, but there was a bit more pressure because of the crowd… It was fantastic to see so many come out and support it. I would love to do more of this.”
The Hickory Challenge
We may as well just give the guys at the European Tour ‘unique’ for there middle name, as fans on the Saturday at the Omega European Masters were transported back to the 1930’s after round three’s play.
Stars of the tour Miguel Angel Jiménez, Lee Westwood and Danny Willett were kitted out in traditional 1930s golf attire and newsboy hats, each given a set of hickory golf clubs and tasked to play two holes on the breath-taking Crans Montana course in Switzerland.
The hickory golf challenge ? pic.twitter.com/lGGXX7Yaim
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) September 6, 2016
The concept was created to celebrate the Omega European Masters 70th anniversary and as well as including the former World Number One and the reigning Masters champion, they faced off against Paolo Quirici, the 2013 World Hickory Champion.
The eventual champion was Lee Westwood, who became the proud owner of a cow-bell trophy for the hickory challenge.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) September 3, 2016
A brilliant and unique creation, but let’s just say that pars were like gold dust.
Beat the Pro
The next innovation came at the KLM Open, where it hosted the new ground-breaking concept of the ‘Beat the Pro’ competition, in tournament play!
It gave amateurs the chance to challenge the games superstars by hitting a tee shot to the green at the par three 14th hole, with a prize on offer for the ball closest to the pin.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) September 10, 2016
The KLM Open played on The Dutch course in Spijk for the first time turned the par three into an amphitheater for the week and put lucky fans right in the middle of the action, seeing them teeing off alongside the professionals…
Yes there some shanks, but also some great shots!
Defending KLM Open champion Thomas Pieters and the 2016 tournament ambassador Joost Luiten were heavily involved and saw a number of interesting shots.
Little Interviews… Big Questions
Introducing Billy, the new kid on the block down at the European Tour HQ who is taking the golfing world by storm!
The cheeky chappy puts some of the worlds best players through their paces in his brutal but hilarious interviews, in which Billy shows he has no remorse for the biggest stars of the game.
— GolfPunkHQ (@GolfPunk_Mag) December 8, 2016
So far, the new internet sensation, has put Rory McIlroy, Niall Horan, Graeme McDowell, Beef and Thomas Bjorn through the toughest interviews of their professional careers.
The nine-year-olds greatest achievement to date has to be his latest adventure with Rory McIlroy ahead of his title defence at the DP World Tour Championship, where he asked the questions that most reporters would never do.
He covered the basics with Rory, then started the fun with questions covering girls then onto weddings and finishing with Tiger, Billy didn’t hold back and the results were amazingly hilarious.
Whilst filming down at Jumeirah Golf Estates’ on the Earth Course, Billy and Rory made time for a dip in the pool, play nearest to the pin and even swap presents… Rory of course getting socks to stop him getting cold feet (again).
We’re sorry Rory but we know you loved it as much as we did!
The fastest hole in golf
The question that you’ve all been asking was eventually answered by the European Tour earlier this year! Just how quick can you really play a par-5?
First the rules, the hole has to be 500 yards or longer and the time to beat was 68 seconds. The teams of France, Spain and Denmark played the 500-yard par five fourth hole at Valderrama, in a relay format in an attempt to break a Guinness World Records title.
The European Tour stars safely smashed that record. The winning time 34.8 seconds. The victors? France, with a birde too!
— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GWR) April 21, 2016
Open De Espana host Sergio Garcia captained Spain, Turkish Airlines Open champion Thorbjørn Olesen captained Denmark and France’s captain was Raphaël Jacquelin.
Fair to say that they all got very into the competitive nature and were full of national pride. Spain were bold but Garcia’s second to the green found the water and saw them card a double bogey, seven… Denmark played well but simply took too long, making a tremendous par.
The one key point to take away from this challenge is just how little time it took the pros to play some truly fantastic shots, only taking 34 seconds to make a birdie… These guys are good!
One of the highlights of the European Tour which saw it reach 1,159,218 views online! A favourite for us and many sport fans out there!
Have missed any of your favourite European Tour moments from 2016? If so let us know your thoughts in the comments below!