The 2019 Belgian Knockout format represents the second year for a new kind of tournament format for the European Tour, seeking to mix stroke play and match play together in the same event.
The Belgian Knockout, which is played at Rinkven International Golf Club in Antwerp, begins with a full field of 144 players competing for 36 holes of stroke-play golf to get down to the top 64 players. If there are ties to determine the top 64, there will be a playoff to decide the final weekend field.
At that point, the tournament will then go into a bracket-style affair, with the 64 players ranked in a single-elimination tournament format -- No. 1 vs. No. 64, No. 2 vs. No. 63, etc. -- competing in nine-hole matches. The matches are stroke-play matches, meaning the players must hole out on every hole and the total score for the nine holes determines the winner. Ties after nine holes go to a sudden-death playoff.
On Saturday, there will be three nine-hole rounds of match play to get down to a final eight. On Sunday, the final eight will compete in quarterfinals, semifinals and the final and consolation matches to determine the champion.
The European Tour has tried to introduce short-form match play in recent years, with the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth and GolfSixes offering six-hole matches in a traditional match-play style. The nine-hole, stroke-play matches could be a great compromise for the traditional golf fan.
This tournament was successful in its first year, and the position has been moved in Year 2 to make it part of a consistent continental Europe swing before the US Open in June.