YORK’S lord of the swing Simon Dyson will be pitched into golf’s equivalent of the Indian Premier Cricket League tomorrow.
The 35-year-old opted not to compete in the current Joburg Open in South Africa, which is the latest tournament on the European Tour.
Instead, he accepted an invitation to play in the inaugural Pearls Golf Premier League, which carries a prize of $250,000 for the winning four-man team.
The event is a new format of the game and has been devised by Indian player Shiv Kapur, who shares the same International Sports Management agency as York-born Dyson.
Besides the Malton & Norton GC ace, other top European players competing in the contest spread over today, tomorrow and Sunday is 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke, successful Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and 2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell, from New Zealand.
Two other major winners – Argentinean Angel Cabrera, who captured the US Open in 2007 and The Masters two years later, and America’s Rich Beem, the 2002 USPGA champion – will also play.
Top Indian players, led by competition originator Kapur, and leading performers from the Asian Tour will compete.
It was the Asian Tour on which Dyson won in his rookie season as a professional 13 years ago. The current world number 75 has since won six European Tour titles.
Eight franchises will be represented by four-strong teams after franchise owners bid for players from each of the four pools at auction, part of the proceeds from the auction go to a designated charity.
Dyson has been drafted into the Colombo Sixers, the only franchise from outside India, and which is headed by Sri Lankan cricket captain Mahela Jayawardene and his international team-mate Kumar Sangakkara, both keen golfers.
The innovative three-day event starts tomorrow at the Aamby Valley Golf Course, in Maharashtra, It won the Best International Golf Course award at the recent International Property Awards in London.
Eight teams of four players play three 14-hole rounds in a strokeplay/best ball format with a maximum of 30 seconds to hit a shot.
The first two rounds will involve day-night rounds of strokeplay, the first time ‘night-time’ golf will be incorporated into a pro tournament.
The third and final round will comprise a combination of four-ball and foursomes matches to determine the inaugural GPL champions.
Kapur said: “When I saw the Indian Premier League, I thought it made cricket look cool. I wanted to do the same in golf.”
The other franchises are the Punjab Lancers, the Delhi Darts, the Gujarat Underdawgs, the Shubhkamna UP Eagles, the Tamilnadu Pullees, the Maharashtra 59ers and the Uttarakhand Lions.