Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup captains join forces as sixes event looks to break down barriers

Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew will form a team with Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn (Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire).
Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew will form a team with Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn (Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire).
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Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn and Solheim Cup counterpart Catriona Matthew will team up for the second edition of GolfSixes as part of a number of changes made to the six-hole matchplay tournament.

The ‘Captains Team’ is one of four wild-card selections introduced to the innovative event, with an England women’s team comprising Georgia Hall and Charley Hull and a European women’s team featuring England’s Mel Reid and Norway’s Suzann Pettersen joining defending champions Denmark, who will again be represented by Lucas Bjerregaard and Thorbjorn Olesen.

The fourth and final wild-card team will be revealed towards the end of next month alongside the 11 men’s national teams who will qualify automatically from the European Tour’s ranking list.

All 16 teams will compete for a total prize fund of €1m at Centurion Club, St Albans from May 5-6, with the winners receiving €100,000 each.

Bjorn said: “I am really excited about playing GolfSixes. There are so many 72-hole tournaments around the world that there has to be room for something else that puts a different spin on golf and brings more interest.

“This is not your normal golf tournament where everyone is very serious and has their heads down. This is completely different, it’s more about having fun and portraying the game in a good way.

“I think it’s hugely important to also try and break down the barriers that have existed in golf between the men’s and women’s games. When this opportunity arose to play as Ryder Cup captain I thought it was only right to speak to Catriona as the Solheim Cup captain about forming a team, and we’re both really looking forward to it.”

Matthew added: “I was delighted when Thomas asked me to play GolfSixes. I had to move my schedule around a little bit, but the moment I heard about the chance to play I definitely wanted to be part of it.

“All tours are trying to think of ways to make golf different and encourage a new and younger audience and so I think this whole concept is very exciting.”

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: “GolfSixes is something that we championed last year to do something a little different, not just in terms of a different format, but also to bring a different form of entertainment from a golf perspective.

“There was a lot of talk about what we were going to do differently this year while remaining credible, but entertaining, and this announcement is the result of those discussions.”