Chawrasia, Chikka ready for England test in ‘GolfSixes’

S. S. P. Chawrasia, fresh from his successful defence of the Hero Indian Open, and young S. Chikkarangappa, who is seen as a future star in India pro-circles, are highly excited about the new format which will herald a new chapter in European golf.

S. S. P. Chawrasia... “All that matters is how we play on a given day.”   -  Getty Images

 

India’s S. S. P. Chawrasia and S. Chikkarangappa will take on host England’s star pair, Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood, in the opening match of the GolfSixes that gets underway on Saturday at the Centurion Club in St. Albans. Later in the day, India will meet Netherlands and Denmark in the afternoon and evening sessions.

Chawrasia, fresh from his successful defence of the Hero Indian Open, and young Chikka, who is seen as a future star in India pro-circles, are highly excited about the new format which will herald a new chapter in European golf.

Chawrasia and Wood were up against each other on all three days of the 2016 EurAsia Cup. While Chawrasia and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphinbarnarat lost 2&1 to Wood and Lee Westwood in fourballs, they beat Wood and Kristoffer Broberg 2-Up in foursomes. Chawrasia then lost a tight singles match 1-up on the 18th. Now is his chance to create an upset on the very first day of the GolfSixes.

“This is a format where reputations don’t count,” said Chawrasia. “All that matters is how we play on the given day. Agreed, we are in a tough group with England (Wood and Sullivan), Denmark and Netherland, but this is a team event. Both (Chris) Wood and (Andy) Sullivan are fine players. I have played with them on European Tour and they were there at EurAsia Cup last year.”

Chikka is also excited. “It was fun playing with S. S. P. He is a great player with four European Tour titles. That is a big achievement and we complement each other well. And this is a fast-paced matchplay. So anything can happen,” he said.

Sullivan said: “This week for me is all about fun and that is something me and Woody know how to do pretty well so if we don’t win we’ll just banter our opponents out of it.”

He added, “Ryder Cup and then playing World Cup together, we’ve got to know each other pretty well. I think we know our games pretty well from the World Cup, we played quite well together apart from one nine holes so hopefully we can just go out there and go after it and get the right result in the right manner. I know if we get out there and enjoy ourselves, that’s where we are going to play our best. The last two times we’ve been in a team, it’s not finished ideally so, third time lucky, we’ll get over the line this time. Chris can play golf and I’ll just get the crowd going.”

The European Tour has been looking at new ways to promote the game. Last season it introduced a Tuesday programme at select tournament with eight professionals playing a one-hole knockout as Hero Challenge, and that has been extended to three events this year. Also, earlier this European, Asian and Australian Tour combined to introduce a tournament called Super Sixes, which was a mix of stroke play and six-hole match knockout for the Top-24 selected after 54 holes of strokeplay.

Now comes the innovative new GolfSixes tournament for the inaugural staging at Centurion Club in St. Albans on Saturday and Sunday. The 16 competing nations were allocated into four groups and Saturday’s group stage will see each two-man team will complete three matches over the six-hole course.

GolfSixes follows an exciting team-focussed match-play format. The teams will play Greensomes, where the two players select their best tee shot and then play alternate shots thereafter. The top two teams from each of the four groups progress to the knockout stage - the quarterfinals, the semifinals, a 3rd-4th place playoff match and the final - all of which will be contested on Sunday May 7.

India will play all three Group matches on Saturday.

The Groups

Group A — England, Denmark, The Netherlands, India

Group B — Thailand, Spain, Belgium, Scotland

Group C — Australia, Wales, U. S. A, Portugal

Group D — South Africa, France, Sweden, Italy.