Imagine a professional golf tournament where par or worse doesn't matter. That's what could be coming to the European Challenge Tour in 2018 in a new format devised by lauded agent Andrew "Chubby" Chandler.
The idea for the format, disclosed by Golf Digest, is one that makes par each player's partner (as the expression goes in pro-ams the world over). As it's described, if a player doesn't have a putt for birdie or better, they just pick up the ball and move on to the next hole. Since it's a form of Stableford scoring, a player would get 0 points for par or worse, 2 points for a birdie, 5 points for an eagle and 8 points for an albatross. Whoever has the most points in the end wins.
The point of the format is to keep play moving. After all, what fan -- or what pro golfer, for that matter -- wants to watch bogey and double-bogey putts go down? Just get on with it.
“It won’t just be that par doesn’t count. The players will be banned from putting out once they haven’t made a birdie,” Chandler said to Golf Digest. “That way they will all be round in three hours. We will have two points for a birdie, five for an eagle and eight for an albatross. That’s been done before. But no putting for par, which counts as zero. So you can’t knock it out of a bunker to four-feet and putt for par. Not allowed. And that’s where things will speed up.”
Further enticements give double points for hole outs from off the green and double points in the final three holes to encourage finishing in a flurry.
Why not? With the golf ball going so far and players ravaging most courses week-to-week without some threat of nasty weather, pro golf could enjoy a few weeks where fans see only birdies or better.