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This week’s Belgian Knockout becomes the latest addition to the European Tour International Schedule, offering golf fans something a little different. Hosted by three-time Tour winner Thomas Pieters, the event will combine 36 holes of traditional stroke play with a weekend of knockout matches in the first event to be held in Belgium since 2000.
It joins the ISPS HANDA World Super 6, GolfSixes, Shot Clock Masters and the European Golf Team Championships as events on Tour that are pushing the sport’s boundaries through innovative formats. The inaugural edition will take place at Rinkven International Golf Club, with a composite of holes from the North and South Courses being used to make up 18 holes. Ahead of the first tee shot on Thursday, europeantour.com takes a look at everything you need to know about this week’s tournament.
It would be easy to write off the Belgian Knockout as an exhibition, whose result(s) will be almost random and where genuine consequence will be negligible. This is the European Tour at something near their most mischievously creative and should be treated as it is designed: a bit of fun, nothing more and nothing less.
But for Thomas Pieters, the star of Belgian golf who hosts an event his own sister helps to promote, there may be more to it than that. It’s almost two years now since he last won an event of any kind, and anything will do as he searches for another – not least because we are once again in a Ryder Cup year.
It’s not insignificant that Pieters sprang to life in the summer of 2016, forcing his way into Darren Clarke’s Ryder Cup side at the eleventh hour. He did so in low-key events, taking second in the Czech Republic before a classy success in Denmark, and with a mountain to climb to make the 2018 team, he may feel that something similar is required once more.