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There has been a lot of talk in recent months about the future of golf. One of those is a Super Golf League (SGL) which would challenge the PGA Tour. Opinion among players and supporters seems mixed on this proposal.
If the SGL does not get the green light, there could also be a new team competition, with all the leading players in the world representing a franchise. There is nothing currently existing in golf which follows this model.
Each team in this league could have a home course where they play their home fixtures. In order to make the teams as fair as possible, a draft or auction may be used, with each team having a budget to work within.
If golf is looking to find a way of attracting a new audience to the sport, this is a proposal which is worth exploring. These teams may start giving fans of the sport some affiliation, rather than having their own favourite players.
Golf Remains a Popular Individual Sport
The challenge the sport may have to overcome to get a team competition off the ground is the traditional theory that golf works best when the participants compete individually.
This new competition could work alongside the PGA Tour, with minimal change to the season, especially the four Major Championships - the US Masters, US PGA Championship, US Open and Open Championship.
These majors are the ones which define a career. Jack Nicklaus’ 18 wins remain the benchmark for any player to reach if they want to be considered the greatest the sport has seen.
There are 48 official events on the PGA Tour during the 2021/22 campaign, including the Players Championship, the unofficial fifth major. It is a busy schedule for those involved, however, the leading players tend to pick and choose tournaments which they enter.
If a new team competition was to be launched, the 48 events could still take place. Those who are not involved in the franchise league would still have the opportunity to win a big event on the PGA Tour.
IPL: A Great Example of a Success Franchise League
Cricket is a sport which has not changed much over the last 100 years. However, Twenty20 (T20) is the newest format of the game which was introduced at the highest level in the 2000s, and was at the time met with a lot of discontent.
T20 has gone on to be a huge success, particularly the Indian Premier League (IPL), a franchise league which continues to attract the best players from around the world each year. It now is in its 15th season.
In 2022, the IPL expanded its competition to welcome two new teams, Lucknow Super Giants and the Gujarat Titans. It will create extra games and allow more of the world’s best players to find franchises in order to compete. As of April 12, the Rajasthan Royals are the 9/2 favourites in the Betway IPL betting for the trophy this year.
The IPL uses an auction for the ten teams to sign players. When they arrive at a franchise, the leading cricketers normally have no affiliation to their team, but they quickly settle in. The competition has been a big commercial success, with huge television audiences, not just in India, but also around the world.
Ryder Cup Remains the Leading Team Competition
The Ryder Cup is a team competition which has been successful in golf since it was inaugurated in 1927. It is a biannual tournament between the United States and Europe.
Played across three days, players qualify for either USA or Europe depending on their nationality. There is a qualifying table in order to earn a spot on each team. For example, Jon Rahm, who is number one in the official golf rankings, featured for Europe in 2021.
The atmosphere at Ryder Cup matches tends to be electric. Singles, fourballs and foursomes take place across the three days until there is a winner. The USA are the current champions as they prevailed at Whistling Straits in 2021.
Although a franchise league would be very different to the Ryder Cup, there are parts of the competition which could be used to make it a success.
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