Luckily for the golfers that didn’t get into the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational there’s another game in town this week – and it’s one of the more interesting formats on the PGA Tour. This is the second consecutive year that the Reno-Tahoe Open has decided to employ the modified Stableford format.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with this set-up, the modified Stableford format awards points based on the golfer’s score on each hole. The player with the most points at the end of the tournament is declared the winner. Unlike the regular Stableford format, however, points are deducted for scores over par on each hole. A double-eagle earns eight points, five points are given for an eagle, two for a birdie and zero points are awarded for each par. A bogey will net minus-one point and anything worse than bogey takes away three points from the score.
This particular format adds another level of excitement and intrigue to the game. It encourages golfers to constantly attack the pin, but also can have significant negative repercussions should they not execute. The leaderboard can change at the drop of the hat since pars really aren’t good enough to keep any lead safe. If someone has a four point lead heading into the final hole and they can only scrape together a par while their competitor cards an eagle, that lead is gone and the player that was leading now finds themselves in second place. That is unheard of in traditional stroke play formats.
This is the only event of the year to use the modified Stableford format. If it starts to gain some interest from the public, I could see the Tour adding one or two more events throughout the year. At this point it’s more of a novelty, but if there can be money and interest generated by this format there’s a good chance we’ll see more of it in the future.