It’s only taken 20 years, I have the clipping to prove it. In 1996 there was I asserting in
Golf Weekly that what really needs to happen is to have male and female players competing at the same event at the same time.
Finally, last week it happened. The European Tour and the Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned the Trophee Hassan II and the Lala Mereyem Cup to be played at Royal Dar Es Salam, Morrocco at the same time. The men on the red course, the women on the blue. Jeung Han Wang won the men’s event and Nuna Itturios won the womens.
European Tour boss Keith Pelley called it “an experiement”. We’ve taken an innovative approach and are keen to see how it works before we decide the next steps. We have ambitious ideas and we will shortly be announcing our next moves”.
Apart from the competitons being played side by side, the players got together for mixed exhibitions, team events and skills challenges.
Ladies European Tour boss Ivan Khodabakhash remarked this works well in tennis having both genders playing side by side. It brings more colour to an event, offers more for fans and will probably bring new fans into the sport”.
It’s a long way forward from where we were in the 1980s. Anyone remember the truly dreadful Men versus Women golf matches filmed at Woburn with Greg Norman being patronisingly nice to a skimpily dressed Jan Stephenson and Nancy Lopez grimacing as fellow Mexican Lee Trevino made an innuendo joke.
Let’s see what the tours come up with next. We’re seeing such huge strides forward this year, its exciting times for golf after years of stagnation.