The European Tour heads to Belgium for the first time in 18 years this week. Thomas Pieters hosts the Belgian Knockout. It’s an innovative new event featuring head-to-head strokeplay.

Belgian Knockout Leaderboard, Preview, TV Times

It’s a new event on the European Tour this week. Thomas Pieters is host of the Belgian Knockout at Rinkven International in Antwerp.

The tournament will feature standard strokeplay over the first 36 holes, after which the top-64 players will go on to compete in head-to-head strokeplay, knockout matches contested over nine holes.

I think it’s going to be exciting,” said tournament host Pieters. “We are going to see an innovative new format and it will make it really exciting for people who come along to watch and also for people watching it at home on TV.”

The event has attracted a strong field and the home nation will be well represented with Pieters, Nicolas Colsaerts and Thomas Detry leading the way. Other top players entered include: Joost Luiten, Soomin Lee, Chris Wood, Haydn Porteous and Jordan Smith.

This is the first time the European Tour has visited Belgium since Lee Westwood won the Belgacom Open of 2000 at Royal Zoute GC. The first Belgian Open was held way back in 1910 and was won by Frenchman Arnaud Massy. The event became part of the European Tour in 1978 and was won by Jose Maria Olazabal, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Nick Faldo, among others.

“It means the world to Belgium to have another European Tour event,” said tournament host Thomas Pieters. “We’ve had a decent increase in interest in golf in the last few years with Nico’s (Colsaerts) Ryder Cup, my Ryder Cup and the Olympics helping, so we thought it was time to get our own tournament back.”

Belgian golfer Paul Rolin was responsible for the original design at Rinkven GC which was later expanded to the current 36-hole format. More recently, Martin Hawtree has advised on significant changes to bring the two courses up to modern championship standards.

Venue: Rinkven International, Antwerp, Belgium
Date: May 17-20
Course stats: par 71, 6,924 yards
Purse: €1,000,000
Defending champion: Lee Westwood (Winner of last Belgian Open in 2000)

How to watch the Belgian Knockout

TV Coverage:
Thursday 17 – Sky Sports Golf from 10am
Friday 18 – Sky Sports Golf from 10am
Saturday 19 – Sky Sports Golf from 12pm
Sunday 20 – Sky Sports Golf from 12pm

Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Belgian Knockout?

Why not buy a Now TV pass? For £7.99 you can get a day pass if you wish to watch one of the rounds or, for just £12.99, you can get a week pass to see the whole tournament.

Buy a Now TV Sky Sports Day Pass for £7.99
Buy a Now TV Sky Sports Week Pass for £12.99

Players to watch:

Joost Luiten

Joost Luiten

Joost Luiten – The Dutchman is an extremely consistent performer on the European Tour and rarely misses the cut. In fact, he’s only missed five in his last 35 starts. He won earlier in the year in Oman.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera – Runner-up in the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open last week, the Frenchman also lost in the final of the GolfSixes tournament at Centurion Club. He’s clearly on form.

Jorge Campillo – The Spaniard has been enjoying a strong season on the European Tour. He was second in the Maybank Championship and third in the China Open. He’s yet to win on the European Tour but this could be the week he makes a breakthrough.