Golf fans all over the globe will have an opportunity to compete in a virtual version of one of the game’s biggest and most historic Championships this summer.
The R&A, which governs the sport of golf worldwide, has found an innovative way to engage with a global audience through a digitally interactive platform – the WGT digital game created by Topgolf. Dubbed “The e-Open,” this virtual event allows players of the WGT game from around the world to participate in a virtual stroke play tournament on a digital version of the iconic Royal St. George’s golf course.
Neil Armit, Chief Commercial Officer at The R&A, said, “We have seen esports become hugely popular and enjoyed by gamers all around the world. The e-Open will give golf fans a unique opportunity on a global platform to challenge themselves against other gamers in a virtual tournament over Royal St. George’s.”
“We have been working on The e-Open for some time now and are pleased to be able to launch the inaugural tournament.”
The inaugural e-Open began on July 13 and will run through September 8. Qualifying events and knockout rounds are scheduled to take place through the end of August with a Grand Final showdown on September 8.
More than 28 million people participate in WGT’s realistic gameplay, all of whom are eligible to participate in The e-Open. The WGT platform provides this kind of accessibility by being a free-to-play app, available to download on any mobile device or PC.
Players will post their best score in the unlimited play round and the top 32 leaderboard scores will move on to a bracket round to determine the final two players that will compete in a live streamed final.
During the qualifying round, pro golfers and Mastercard (official sponsor of the event) golf ambassadors will take part in a live Exhibition Match at WGT’s Royal St. George’s virtual course on August 10. Fans will be able to tune into the live action at 4 p.m. ET on The Open’s YouTube page.
“Topgolf really has our roots in innovation,” YuChiang Cheng, President of Topgolf Media, told Front Office Sports in a recent episode of Fundamentals. “To our core, it’s all about bringing people together in meaningful ways.”
World class prizes are up for grabs, including a trip for two people to The 149th Open at Royal St. George’s next year with tickets to the event, flights, and hotel. The runner-up will receive a golf bag signed by five-time Golfer of The Year, Tom Watson. Five other participants will receive a gift card to the event’s official online store. Exclusive content and digital experiences will also be made available for fans through Priceless.com.
Getting a tee time at Royal St. George’s is much easier said than done. Through WGT by Topgolf, millions of golf and esports enthusiasts will have a chance to experience the course and bring home a championship through The e-Open.