Are novelty golf formats acceptable?

The Scoop

Mark Townsend and Steve Carroll lock horns in Alternate Shot

Are you a fan of novelty golf formats like the PGA Tour’s Shootout? Two of our writes have their say…

Yes, says Mark Townsend

There is a time and a place for all these novelty formats and now is the right time for the players to throttle back on the engines (and fill up the wheelbarrow a bit more) and, in our search to watch golf every day of year, throw some 57s at us.

The QBE Shootout – catchy no? – involved a scramble, a ‘modified alternate shot’ aka greensomes or, if you’re a bit odd a Scotch Foursomes, and the tried-and-trusted Sunday betterball.

What would be the merit, in December, in Florida, in having 72 holes of strokeplay like any other week? Just having three rounds to get your head round was a good start and is perfectly acceptable, some viewers might now know about greensomes, which is one of the best formats in the game, and the final round on Sunday genuinely had a different feel to it.

Team events work, better still if the players actually play with who they want to and, on Sunday, we got a nice reminder of how Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry can gel.

And sometimes, like Jason Dufner winning this in 2015, it can re-kickstart your career. Who knows it might get McDowell going again and, when he lines up at the Ryder Cup next September, he might make mention of weeks like this.

No, says Steve Carroll

Do you know how much of the Shootout passed through my TV this weekend? None. Not a single shot. I watched the snooker instead.

I like to think I’m up for a lark as much as the next person but pointless end of year, sponsor-induced borefests that do nothing but make already wealthy golfers even richer don’t make me chuckle.

Maybe it’s about the participants as much as the event itself. I suppose if Tiger had turned up I’d be all over it but pardon me if I’d rather watch JT and DJ going head-to-head down a stretch than Pat Perez and Brian Harman trying to seal a third place finish.

I like the idea of trying different formats but suggest a greensomes tournament or, heaven forbid, a scramble in mid-season and everyone would be up in arms. The reason the Shootout has this date in the schedule is because it doesn’t matter.

There’s nothing wrong with extending the Christmas break by another week. Be patient, wait a few weeks and we are into the Florida Swing and, suddenly, the Masters doesn’t seem too far away.

Proper golf. With something at stake. I can’t wait.

More from Alternate Shot

Click here for the full Alternate Shot archive

Previous article
Next article