In an effort to promote nine-hole golf, the R&A is giving amateurs an opportunity to play for a championship at 2016 Open host Royal Troon on the eve of the championship.
The inaugural handicap event will be played July 9 with a 30-player field, with the field largely drawn from events held at the 13 regional qualifying Open sites throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Royal Troon Golf Club and Troon's Ladies’ Golf Club will also each name two players to the field. The event will be open to men, women, boys and girls who are members of participating clubs.
The 2017 event will be expanded to offer a bevy of nine-hole qualifying tournaments through national golf associations in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The decision to launch the championship was made, in part, by data suggesting more people would take up the game if they perceived it could be played in less time and the notion among many existing golfers that the sport's pace of play has deteriorated in recent years.
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“Nine-hole golf is not new but we feel it is often overlooked as a perfectly valid way to play the sport either with your family and friends or competitively," said R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers.
“We are delighted to introduce a nine-hole championship and will be promoting this format as a way of playing golf in less time which can have wider appeal among people who lead increasingly busy lives today.”