A brand new format will be unveiled on the Hero Honda Indian Golf Tour when the DHL Challenge is played at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club in Mumbai from January 28, 2003.
For the first time in the history of Indian professional golf, the exciting modified stableford scoring format will be employed during the tournament, which is being sponsored by DHL Worldwide Express, the global leader of the international air express industry and market leaders in India.
The tournament offers prize-money of Rs one million, with the winner's cheque amounting to Rs 162,000. A full field of 100 pros are expected to tee off.
The DHL Challenge will mark the first time that modified stableford scoring system will be used. Majority of events on the Hero Honda Indian Golf Tour are strokeplay events, where the player with the best aggregate score over four rounds in the entire field is declared the winner. The other commonly used format is the matchplay, which is like a knock-out tournament and a direct clash between two players. This format is used in the SRF All-India Matchplay Championship.
In the modified stableford format, players play their scheduled rounds, but get points for the scores on each hole. A par is worth 0 points, a birdie +2, an eagle +5 and an albatross +8. On the other hand, a bogey is worth -1 points, a double bogey -2, a triple bogey -3 and so on. The tournament will be played over four rounds and the cut will be applied at top-50 and ties after two rounds. The player with the highest points after four rounds will be the winner.
DHL Worldwide Express made their maiden entry into professional golf last season with the Rs 600,000 DHL Open at Mumbai. Thus, the prize-money has been enhanced by almost 66 per cent this season, along with the new format. The main four-day event starts on Tuesday, January 28, and the pro-am will be played on Saturday, February 1, 2003.
The modified stableford format rewards excellence -- in this case birdies and eagles -- and is forgiving to mistakes. Three birdies and three bogies in a stableford round would mean a mediocre level-par 72 score, and something that is better than someone who scores five birdies and six bogies (a score of one-over in strokeplay). However, in modified stableford, the first player would get +3 points (+6 for three birdies and -3 for three bogies), while the second would be better placed in the end with +4 points (+10 for five birdies and -6 for six bogies).
Because there will be a premium on scoring birdies and eagles, players are bound to resort to attacking golf and are expected to display spectacular approach shots and try and reach every par-5 green in two shots. Being a daredevil will pay handsomely when the DHL Challenge tees off.