Golf as an esport – the first tournament series is here
Golf is something of a niche sport – while it has its fans, it’s by no means as popular or well-known as football, baseball or even cricket. It’s somewhat similar for video games – games like the Fifa series are immensely popular, while World Golf Tour for example has a much more niche appeal.
That doesn’t stop it from making a push towards esports though – WGT or World Golf Tour is easily the most popular golf game out there, and it is now seeing its first tournament series. The game was created by Topgolf, who just partnered with one of the biggest names in the esports industry – DreamHack. According to them, the title currently has more than 20 million players, and so they partnered for a tournament series.
The series is called the European eTour, and it will see players competing across six events that coincide with the real world European Tour events next year. The finale of the series is going to take place at another prestigious golf event – the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November next year.
— European eTour (@etour_gg) December 16, 2019
Competition to a Tee
This all follows a small esports tournament earlier this year – it was a one-off European eTour Championship that took place in Denmark in May 2019. It was received very positively, and it was what led to the development of this series of one-day events across the upcoming year.
The pairing with the regular World Tour is deliberate – an attempt to increase and engage new viewers outside of the typical viewer demographics, says Rufus Hack, the CCO of the European Tour. Since currently no golf esports scene exists whatsoever, the organisation’s plan is to corner the market for themselves – and they are sure that after the success of their one-off tournament, the upcoming series is going to get even more positive attention.
Indeed, the CEO of DreamHack Sports Games, Peter Nørrelund, also sees a bright future for sports games as esports, and that’s including golf. According to him, the strong branding of the European Tour and the well-crafted nature of WGT are a recipe for success, especially when partnered with DreamHack’s own patented brand of success.
The first of the tournaments is going to take place in Abu Dhabi too, at the HSBC Championship this upcoming January. Over the course of five competitions, five champions will be selected to compete at the fifth and final event. Along with them will be three more wildcard players that will also get an opportunity to qualify for the finale.
As mentioned, said finale is taking place at a different event in Abu Dhabi between the 19th and 22nd of November next year, at the Jumeirah Golf Estates. The five events leading up to this one will use a simple nine-hole knockout format – the first two rounds each will be held round robin style, while the semi-finals and finals of each event are going to be straight knockouts until one champ remains and qualifies for the finale.
Not much is known about the wildcard qualifier – more information will likely be released early next year.