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Stephen Gallacher: It could be a whole new ball game for golf

With the TGL coming in 2024 could we see a four-club tournament too?

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy's TGL gets underway in January.
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy's TGL gets underway in January.

As we head towards a new year I’m looking forward to seeing a new format of the game in 2024.

SoFi Centre in Florida will play host to TGL, the golf simulator league created by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

It is going to be a star-studded league featuring 15 of the top 20 in the world competing in team events.

With a three v three format featuring alternate shots and head to head encounters, not to mention a 40 second shot-clock and referees, all staged in the space of two hours, I’m fascinated to see how this will all play out.

In total there are 24 PGA Tour professionals taking part in a stadium-style golf simulator and with primetime backing from ESPN in the United States it is clear the Woods and McIlroy branded event has captured the imagination.

Rahm the big name absentee

Jon Rahm has pulled out of TGL. Image: PA

I’m surprised by Jon Rahm’s decision last week to pull out of the competition.

He was very enthusiastic about participating initially but now says he cannot make the commitment required to play in the league.

But the presence of Tiger alone will ensure this will be a huge ratings winner.

The full schedule has still to be announced but we know there will be 15 regular season matches on Monday nights with the top four teams progressing to the semi-finals and finals.

Given you could almost count on one hand the number of appearances Tiger has made on a golf course in the last three years the thought of seeing him on a regular basis in 2024 is exciting.

This format should suit him to a tee as well if you’ll pardon the pun.

Tiger’s injury problems in the last 10 years have been well documented but we know he practices all the time and his short game is amazing.

It’s the getting around a golf course which has really hampered him.

But by taking away that physical demand I’m expecting big things from one of the best to ever play the game under this format.

Four-club tournament would be great fun

It seems there is a real appetite for trying something different in the game at the moment.

It is not just TGL which has people talking. There is strong interest in a four-club tournament too.

I’d certainly be up for that as I can remember playing in a three-club tournament at my local golf club when I was a youngster and it was great fun.

It all stems from the DP World Tour’s social media post last week where they followed Andy Sullivan around the Belfry as he took on the challenge of playing the whole course with just a five iron.

It’s remarkable video and Andy’s final round of 78 was phenomenal.

Pablo Larrazabal floated the idea of having a four-club event and his proposal was backed by Bob MacIntyre, Richard Mansell and Romain Langasque.

You can add me to the list too. That would be a fabulous thing to be part of.

The DP World Tour does a great job in highlighting the skill level of the professionals with some of their entertaining video packages they do but they may have stumbled onto something with their latest engagement post.

I’d make it even tougher and go with three clubs. It would be interesting to see what the pros would opt for.

I’d probably look at a three wood, a five iron and perhaps a nine iron for taking on such a task.

The four-round 72 hole format is the traditional format and one which is here to stay but I’m all for mixing things up now and again.

Anything which gets people interested in the game and wanting to try it for themselves is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

Nerves will be jangling among Q School finalists

Craig Howie will be among the Scottish hopefuls in Spain. Image: Shutterstock

One event which I’m happy not to be taking part in this week is the DP World Tour final qualifying stage at Infinitum Golf in Tarragona.

Six rounds of golf to secure your DP World Tour card for 2024 is as tense as it gets and it is a pressure cooker on a whole other level.

I’m surprised Euan Walker has opted not to play.

I know he came up short in the Challenge Tour, finishing 26th in the Road to Mallorca rankings.

Coming after finishing 23rd last year it will be tough to have come so close only to lose out for the second year running.

But I would have thought given how well he has played this year he would want to give the Q School finale a shot.

Maybe it’s too mentally taxing after the tough week he has just had or perhaps he fancies his chances of gaining an automatic spot on the Challenge Tour next season.

Whatever his reasons, he has to do what is right for him and I’m sure we’ll see him back out there competing next year wherever he plays.

With Euan opting to go home to Ayrshire and have a break by my reckoning we’ll have seven Scots among the hopefuls aiming to win their playing rights in Spain.

Marc Warren and Craig Howie, who were exempt for the final Q School will be joined by qualifiers Ryan Lumsden, Calum Fyfe, Oliver Roberts, Daniel Young and Callum McNeill.

I’d love to see all of them on the DP World Tour next year and hopefully it is a good week for them.

I wish all the lads the best of luck.