Sam Torrance: Alexander Levy, GolfSixes and the new format of the Zurich Classic show the appeal of Ryder Cup and team events

Sam Torrance
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Levy is determined to make the European team next year (Source: Getty)

The French are an emotional bunch and it was wonderful to see Alexander Levy so happy at winning the China Open for a second time in four years on Sunday.

Levy, who beat South African Dylan Frittelli in a play-off, has already accumulated four European Tour titles at the age of 26, which is excellent.

He has gone beyond journeyman territory and is now a winner. The next step is to become a prolific winner.

Read more: Sam Torrance: Fleetwood at the vanguard of English success

Levy made clear how motivated he has been by the idea of representing Europe next year when the Ryder Cup is held in his home country for the first time.

The Ryder Cup is the ultimate for a European golfers, and now the event is heading for Paris, it’s no surprise that the French players are desperate to be involved.

It’s still a big ask for him to make the team in 2018. This win has lifted him to 74th in the world rankings, but realistically he needs to climb into the top 50, which gives access to the more prestigious and valuable Majors and WGC events.

Best of the French

He probably has the greatest chance of all the Frenchmen, though.

Victor Dubuisson had looked the best but he seems to have lost his way, while Gregory Havret, a US Open runner-up to Graeme McDowell in 2010, is now 40 and approaching his twilight years.

Levy is a proven winner and this is, at least, certainly a step in the right direction.

Frittelli, meanwhile, will likely have felt hellish at letting a five-shot lead slip on the last day in China as he sought his first European Tour title.

I’m a great believer in taking the positives from those situations, however, and he’ll learn from it.

Still golf, only different

Part of the Ryder Cup’s appeal is the format, so I’m all in favour of both the PGA Tour and European Tour recently adopting more team-based events, which I was always desperate to take part in.

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans, which Sweden’s Jonas Blixt and Australian Cameron Smith won on Monday, has changed formats to become the first team event on the PGA Tour for 30 years.

I’m a fan of Blixt’s game and, like a lot of other Swedish players, he seems to have a lot of resolve. This is a great win for him and Smith, who both pocketed more than $1m.

Zurich Classic Of New Orleans - Final Round
Blixt and Smith prevailed in the Zurich Classic's revamped team format (Source: Getty)

The European Tour has been even more experimental with its format for this week’s GolfSixes, which features 16 pairs playing over two days, music and pyrotechnics at the first tee, and shot clocks at some holes.

I’m very enthusiastic about it all. It is different and isn’t for every week but it is still golf – the object remains getting the ball in the hole in fewer shots than your opponent.

It could help attract more people to golf and I’ll definitely be watching.

Finally, it was brilliant to see that, due to technicalities in the PGA Tour’s eligibility rules, Ian Poulter will get to keep his card for the rest of the season after all.

It’s a great boost for fans of the Englishman, who can now focus on getting back to his best after injury.

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