Esso Golden Tournament: Tour Event Used Round-Robin 3-Balls

The Esso Golden Tournament was a men's professional golf tournament on the British PGA/European circuit of the 1960s. It used an unusual format that required all the golfers in the field to play 14, 18-hole matches to determine the winner.

First played: 1961

Last played: 1967

As already noted, golfers in the Esso Golden Tournament had to play 14 matches each. Didn't that take a long time? Not really, because this tournament's format had some other interesting features.

Most of the early matches were played in three-balls: Three golfers in a group, each simultaneously playing separate matches against the other two in the group. One 18 holes, two matches.

The field was only 15 golfers, which is why each golfer played 14 matches. They played one match against each other golfer in the field. Winning a match earned two points, a halved match earned one point. There were 210 matches total played during the tournament, and in addition to prize money for the first four places, golfers also earned money for every point won.

Winners of the Esso Golden Tournament

1961 — (tie) Dave Thomas, Peter Thomson, 21 points
1962 — Dave Thomas, 19 points
1963 — Kel Nagle, 23 points
1964 — Peter Alliss, 25 points
1965 — George Will, 24 points
1966 — Dave Thomas, 23 points
1967 — (tie) Kel Nagle, Peter Thomson, 20 points

Welshman Dave Thomas was the big winner in the Esso Golden Tournament's history, with three victories. He was also runner-up two other times (1964-65). The best single-year performance was Peter Alliss' in 1964, when he set the tournament record with 25 points, and won by a tournament-record 7-point margin.

Golf course: The tournament always took place at Moor Park Golf Club in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, England.

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