PowerPlay Golf has announced plans to increase golf’s appeal to a wider sporting TV audience, and the first stages of its strategy to roll-out an innovative nine hole, two-flag golfing format to invigorate the sport.
Taking place next month, POWERPLAY GOLF: IGNITION is the first of a series of three unique televised professional golf tournaments, to be broadcast live worldwide in 2011. In POWERPLAY GOLF: IGNITION, sponsored by automobile manufacturer Saab, golf’s global ambassador Gary Player will headline the field.
Reigning US Open Champions Graeme McDowell and Paula Creamer, Ryder Cup stars Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, and Major Championship winners John Daly, Ian Woosnam and Helen Alfredssonwill also be among the stellar field of 12 players competing at The Celtic Manor Resort, City Of Newport, Wales, on Bank Holiday Monday May 30th 2011 at 1700 BST.
Speaking at the launch at Celtic Manor, PowerPlay Golf spokesman Colin Montgomerie, OBE, eight time Order of Merit winner, winner of 40 tournaments worldwide and Europe’s victorious captain in The 2010 Ryder Cup, said: “Stand by for something very special. Golf around the world is about to discover a new dimension. We believe the time is right to launch a new format which complements the long form of the game, and adds fresh impetus to the sport. To have the support of Gary Player, who is a golfing icon, is deeply significant. ”
Hailed as golf’s equivalent to Twenty20 Cricket, PowerPlay Golf is an exciting new short form of the game¹which will captivate all TV sports fans. Played over nine holes, with two flags on every green, golfers use a limited number of ‘PowerPlays’ to score extra points when aiming at the harder Black Flag, creating exciting risk-and-reward decisions on each tee.
In the UK, POWERPLAY GOLF: IGNITION will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, with dozens of other global TV networks ensuring that the event will reach millions of homes worldwide.
The international field2 contains no fewer than six Major-winners with 15 Major wins and over 300 Tour victories between them. The winner of the nine-hole tournament in May will receive £100,000 from a £350,000prize fund, and PowerPlay Golf will also donate a further 20% of each player’s prize money to the charity of their choice.
Working together with international sports marketing giants IMG, PowerPlay Golf will stage its second and third PowerPlay Golf events in Asia on November 7th and in the United States on November 25th, each featuring an eclectic twelve-person field of male and female Tour stars of all ages.
Guy Kinnings, Director of IMG Golf EMEA, added: “IMG are very pleased to be partnering PowerPlay Golf in the staging of this inaugural PowerPlay Golf: Ignition event. With The Celtic Manor Resort providing a wonderful showcase for this intriguing new format, we believe along with the stellar field gathered and the media platforms in place, that PowerPlay Golf has all the ingredients to make a big impact in the game.”
Saab To Sponsor POWERPLAY GOLF: IGNITION
David Pugh, Marketing Director at Saab Great Britain Ltd, commented: “At Saab, we have always challenged convention and looked for new ways of doing things, and we immediately recognised that same spirit in PowerPlay Golf. We know that our customers are intellectually curious and always searching for new experiences and challenges – we have no doubt that they will be intrigued by the new PowerPlay Golf format and will want to try it for themselves here in the UK. We look forward to working with PowerPlay Golf to develop this exciting new form of the sport.”
The superstars set to compete in POWERPLAY GOLF: IGNITION at Celtic Manor are thrilled to be taking part and are attracted by the concept.
Fifty years since he became the first international winner of The Masters, golfing legend and nine-time Major winner Gary Player said: “You are standing in the middle of the 18th fairway at Augusta National tied for the lead; what do you do? Do you go for the pin? If you it hit it right you make birdie and win. If you don’t, you make bogey and lose. Risk versus Reward – one of the toughest decisions a champion has to make. PowerPlay Golf is an exciting new competitive format where golfers attack tougher pin positions to achieve better scores. Now you can experience true risk versus reward on every hole and find out if you have the mind to manage the course correctly and take the right risks at the right time.”
Graeme McDowell, the reigning US Open and Saab Wales Open champion who is returning to the venue where he enjoyed so much success and drama last year, said: “I am really excited about playing PowerPlay Golf Ignition and to return to Celtic Manor to do so is the icing on the cake. Creating a three hour risk-and-reward shoot-out live for TV is a great idea and I am sure we will all be going full-on to win”.
Likewise US Women’s Open Champion Paula Creamer is delighted to be playing and commented: “I am really looking forward to taking part in PowerPlay Golf. It is wonderful that the event has such a great mix of players from the different tours. Golf needs something different and the PowerPlay Golf live TV events are certainly going to put our sport in the spotlight”.
Appetite for change
In late 2010, after a three-year pilot in thirty countries,PowerPlay Golf secured significant investment from multi-sports group Convers Sports Initiatives, to roll out the two-flag game globally. “Convers Sports Initiatives is expanding rapidly and PowerPlay Golf is a flagship property for us,” said the company’s Chairman, Vladimir Antonov. The high-profile live TV eventsare expected to act as the catalyst for a growing network of PowerPlay Golf Official Venues, meaning that every golfer in the world will soon have the opportunity to play the game.The appetite for a fresh new approach for golf is backed up by research3 released today, which shows that more than seven in ten golfers believe the sport would benefit from a shorter, faster format. That rises to more than 84% of younger players who say a version of the sport with an emphasis on excitement would appeal to them.
Good for the game
Aside from attracting TV viewers with three hours of guaranteed sporting drama, PowerPlay Golf promises to have a positive effect at all levels of the game, as Executive Director Peter McEvoy OBE explains: “In Saab, we have attracted a new sponsor to the sport. We are also going to reinvest money into the sport globally by working with the Golf Unions and Federations, helping to increase the amount of golf played and bringing much-needed extra revenue into golf clubs.”Significantly Paul Casey and three other POWERPLAY GOLF: IGNITION competitors have agreed to make a donation from their PowerPlay Golf prize money to their home Union or Federation, in recognition of the support they personally received as a developing golfer.
Saab Golf Week including the SaabWales Open
Saab also becomes title sponsor of the 2011 Saab Wales Open, which starts three days after POWERPLAY GOLF: IGNITION and runs from 2nd-5th June 2011.
The tournament will be staged for the 12th time at The Celtic Manor Resort, during which time it has grown into one of the leading events on The European Tour International Schedule. The two events will combine to create Saab Golf Week, which is designed to attract golfers and general sports fans to the world-renowned resort in South Wales, which in 2010 hosted one of the most thrilling Ryder Cup matches in history.
Celtic Manor Resort Chairman Sir Terry Matthews said: “It is fantastic news that Saab has signed up as the title sponsor for the Saab Wales Open and I am delighted that we have been chosen as the host venue for the launch of this new PowerPlay Golf series. This is going to be one dynamite week of golf. ”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “PowerPlay Golf is an exciting concept and we are delighted that the launch of this professional series should be in conjunction with a European Tour event. In addition to their sponsorship of PowerPlay Golf we are also delighted to welcome Saab to The European Tour’s family of sponsors as title sponsors of the Saab Wales Open, and to a new chapter for one of the Tour’s most prestigious events.”
PowerPlay Golf www.powerplay-golf.com