The Twenty-Ten Course at Celtic Manor was the venue for yesterday’s PowerPlay Golf: Ignition event, the first of several high-profile exhibition tournaments designed to bring the new PowerPlay format to the golfing masses.
With the title of a Vin Diesel movie (PowerPlay Golf: Ignition— this time it’s personal); two flags on each of nine holes; a cross-generational, cross-gender (not to be confused with transgender) field of twelve elite players; and a handbook of rules designed to produce nothing less than TOTAL EXCITEMENT: this was golf from the Donald Trump School of Marketing Gusto. It was also strangely compelling, in a cheesetastic, guilty pleasure sort of way.
For those of you not up to speed, here’s former Sky golf presenter Dominic Holyer (whom you might remember from such promotional videos as…) explaining the format:
The event was won by European LPGA rookie Caroline Hedwall, who finished with three PowerPlay birdies to card a 29-point total and beat a field that included both US Open champions, Paul Casey, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Poulter, Helen Afredsson and Gary Player, among others. The Swede, playing in the event the day after her maiden professional victory, immediately pledged half of her £100,000 prize to the Swedish Golf Federation.
Conceived by former British Amateur champion and Walker Cup captain Peter McEvoy as a means of winning the hearts and minds of young people and aged cynics alike, it remains to be seen if PowerPlay will succeed in becoming something other than one of off-peak sports programming’s more engaging novelties.