The European Tour’s policy of trying to provide more entertainment by introducing events that do not involve the basic 72-hole strokeplay format has received a boost.
The tour is to return to Belgium for the first time in 18-years next May when the Rinkven Club in Antwerp stages The Belgian Knockout.
The opening two rounds will follow the familiar strokeplay pattern, before the leading 64 players then go head-to-head in knockout strokeplay matches contested over nine holes on the weekend to determine the winner.
The tournament will be hosted by big-hitting Belgian Thomas Pieters who in last year’s Ryder Cup claimed four points against the Americans to become the most successful European rookie in the history of the biennial contest.
European captain Thomas Bjorn is to get the chance to run his rule over potential Ryder Cup rookies in January.
In the build up to taking on the Americans at Le Golf National in Versailles in a year’s time the Dane will lead Europe against an Asian Team in the second week of January.
The 10-a-side match will be staged at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur with Arjan Atwal
Bjorn said: “I was lucky enough to be a member of the European Team for the first EurAsia Cup in 2014 and I have seen the event grow and develop since then.
“We have some of the best golfers in the world in Europe and I am relishing the opportunity to work closely with them as individuals and as a team to try and ensure we keep the trophy in European hands.”
Tiger Woods has said he may never return to competitive golf as he continues to struggle to recover his fitness after undergoing five back operations.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Presidents Cup in America where the 41-year-old 14-time Major winner is one of the US team vice captain’s Woods has admitted the long route back to competitive golf could prove beyond him.
“I’m still training, I’m getting stronger,” he said. “ But I certainly don’t have my golf muscles trained because obviously I’m not doing anything golf related. I don’t know what my future holds.”
As if to emphasise the pain he feels in his back he said he doubted whether he could ride in a vice-captain’s buggy at the President’s Cup because the vehicle bouncing “hurt too much.”