This week’s Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown should make fascinating viewing.
The event will see 105 players compete over 36 holes, with a cut reducing the field to 32 ahead of Saturday’s round with scores reset.
The scores will be reset again for the top 16 players to battle it out on Sunday.
It is a unique format that encourages players to be aggressive and chase birdies. There is no point playing for pars, you have to shoot a low score to make a short cut and then start again.
It is all-out attack. The course lends itself to that with a few short par-3s and reachable par-5s. I’m really looking forward to watching it because it is a great format.
It is the second week in a row for the players in Paphos after last week’s Cyprus Open, won by Callum Shinkwin.
When we play the same place two weeks in a row, it is important we change the format or at least the course set-up for the second week.
I played the two tournaments at Celtic Manor earlier this season and it would have benefited from a match-play event in the second week to shake things up.
The PGA Tour played two events at Muirfield Village earlier this year and they dramatically changed the course set-up.
The course played really soft the first week and they dried it out completely for the second week and it played fast and firm like a US Open. It was like playing two different venues and the players enjoyed that challenge.
If you can’t change the course then you have to look at changing format.
— Stephen Gallacher (@stevieggolf) November 4, 2020
Last week’s Cyprus Open was also very exciting.
It was a bunched leaderboard on the final day and great to see David Drysdale and Robert MacIntyre in the mix.
David got off to a good start but fell away after a double bogey at the par-3 7th, while Robert was very unlucky when he almost holed out for an eagle on the 14th only for his ball to strike the pin and end up 35 feet away.
He had to settle for a par and went on to finish tied third when he had a great chance to win. Robert will fancy his chances this week. He has the game to make a lot of birdies and play aggressive.
Instead of being in Cyprus, I went to see the specialist putting coach Phil Kenyon to get some tips and it was very useful.
We tried some different putters and he gave me some drills and checklists that I can work on over the winter period.
It was important to check I am using the right putter and grip and get some peace of mind as it is such an important part of the game.
An added challenge this season has been that our coaches have been at hardly any events this season because the European Tour have limited the number of people allowed inside the tournament bubble.
We have had to adapt by sending videos to our coaches of swings and putting strokes to get that vital feedback.
It is easy to fall into bad habits when you play a run of tournaments and so valuable to have a different set of eyes looking over your game.
All these minor details can add up to a big difference and I’m determined to work hard on my game over winter.