This is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Sixsomes Best Ball and Modified Alternate Shot with names like Ernie Els, Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Darren Clarke, David Toms and more in the World Champions Cup.
We’re talking really legendary players plus fun because former PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions player Peter Jacobsen is chairman of this new PGA Tour Champions event which features players from all parts of the world.
“We’ve been kicking around this idea for probably five years, so to see it happen and come to fruition is very exciting,” Jacobsen said on The Golf Show 2.0.
Like a lot of things, the World Champions Cup was supposed to get started a couple of years ago. And we all remember what happened then, that little thing called the pandemic which stopped the world in its tracks. But now, Jacobsen and company have everything up and running.
The new event represents kind of a combination of the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup. There’s an International Team headed up by Els, a European Team captained by Darren Clarke, and a U.S. Team led by Jim Furyk.
Included are stars like Langer, who recently eclipsed Hale Irwin’s record for total victories on the PGA Tour Champions circuit; Montgomerie, who never lost a singles match in Ryder Cup; Ernie Els, with his two U.S. Opens and two British Opens; and Steve Stricker, who was the captain for the most recent U.S. Ryder Cup victory at Whistling Straits.
Jacobsen hopes to make this a truly memorable contest for the over-50 set.
"“The Ryder Cup has been going on forever. Then the President’s Cup was created and then the Solheim Cup was created,” he said. “Right now, nobody’s thinking about the World Champions Cup because it hasn’t happened yet, and I think we’re going to gain some traction once we are in the books.”"
The World Champions Cup will be televised on ESPN, ESPN+ and ABC.
The first two mornings of play, Thursday and Friday, December 7-8, a Six Ball – which will be a best ball — competition, will stream live on ESPN+ from 9 a.m. – noon Eastern time.
The afternoon play, which is a modified alternate shot format, will air on ESPN from noon – 4 p.m.
The modified alternate shot will have each team member hit a tee shot. Each team picks the best tee ball, and teams alternate shots until they hole out on each hole. Anyone who remembers the old J.C. Penney tournament will be familiar with this kind of play. It’s also like one of the rounds of the Grant Thornton Shootout.
Saturday will be a Pro-Am streamed on ESPN+ from noon until 2 p.m.
Sunday morning will feature singles matches on ESPN+ from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Eastern time. The afternoon finale singles matches will air on ABC from 1-5 p.m.
“This is our first annual this year, and then our second, third, fourth — we’re going to play this every year, because let’s face it, us senior players, we don’t have that much time left!” Jacobsen joked. “But once we’re in the books, we’ll be we’ll be rolling. The rounds are gonna be fast!”
It’s all to be held at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida. Concession was named for the putt that Jack Nicklaus conceded to Tony Jacklin on the 18th green at the 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale to halve the Ryder Cup.
“I don’t believe you would have missed that, but I’d never give you the opportunity in these circumstances,” Nicklaus reportedly said to Jacklin. “I don’t know why, but I very quickly thought about Tony Jacklin and what he had meant to British golf. Here he was, the Open champion, the new hero, and all of a sudden it felt like if he missed this putt he would be criticized forever.”
The U.S. kept the cup that year in a 16-16 tie. Nicklaus was hailed for his sportsmanship.