Golf Sixes: Marc Warren says innovation needed boost sport's popularity

Scotland's Marc Warren
Scotland's Marc Warren says his ambition is to break into the world's top 50 golfers

Marc Warren has lauded the European Tour's new Golf Sixes format, saying such innovations are needed to boost the sport's popularity.

Warren and Richie Ramsay finished third for Scotland in the inaugural tournament in St Albans behind Denmark.

The format involved 16 nations, with each of the six holes distinguished by a theme like closest to the pin.

"With so many other sports appealing to kids, to try to reinvent golf can only be good for the game," Warren said.

"It is taking it to a new audience. It is much faster, a more instant format, which in this day and age, is hugely important.

"If golf was left the way it was, it would slowly die out, but new formats like this bring new people to the game and gives people a new appreciation of what golf's about."

Scotland's Richie Ramsay and Marc Warren
Scotland's Richie Ramsay, left, and Marc Warren finished third at the inaugural Golf Sixes event

The 16 nations were split into four groups, with the top two advancing to the quarter-finals. Both team members teed off, with one ball then being chosen and alternate shots being played.

Among the themes for the six holes were a long-drive contest and a 40-second shot clock, with a prize of £850,000 for the winning country.

Warren says traditionalists should not treat the innovation as a threat to the longer format of the game, but see it as a means to making the sport more attractive to a younger audience.

"It's still golf. You're still going to have majors and the standard, traditional events that are going to be four-day stroke play format," Warren said.

'It was pretty exciting with all the new things going on'

"But there's definitely a place for this. Traditionalists will have to get on board or they are going to be left behind. It's as simple as that.

"Golf, like every other sport, is evolving and trying to attract new people to the game and, at the end of the day it's still hitting a golf ball around the golf course and trying to beat your opponents.

"It was pretty exciting with all the new things that were going on, like the entrance to the first tee, the shot clock on the fourth hole and some new innovations. The crowds were great and it was a real fun atmosphere to play in.

Warren's next tournament will be the BMW at Wentworth and he has still to qualify for this year's Open at Royal Birkdale.

The Scot's ambition is to break into the world's top 50 and he believes he has almost returned to full fitness after nine weeks off the course with a "shoulder issue".

"A couple of years ago, I was round about top 50 in the world and that was great. You start playing in all the WGCs and all the majors," Warren said.

"That would be the main goal at the minute. It is what I feel my game is capable of and there have been little signs of that in the past and hopefully I can show more of that in the future."

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