The rise of the mixed golf tournament

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire February 18, 2020 07:31

After successful recent tournaments in Northern Ireland and Jordan, there will be at least four professional events this year featuring men and women competing against each other.

Bro Hof Slott Golf Club. © Lennart Hyse

The European Tour and Ladies European Tour have revealed that two of the biggest names in Scandinavian men’s and women’s golf ever, Henrik Stenson and Annika Sörenstam, will host an innovative mixed event in Sweden this year that could change how golf is perceived around the world. It will feature men and women going head-to-head on the same course, competing for one prize fund and one trophy.

The inaugural ‘Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik & Annika’ will feature 78 men and 78 women at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club in Stockholm this June and will be co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Ladies European Tour.

The event will run for at least the next three years and, with a prize fund of €1,500,000 for the entire field, the tournament will offer Official World Ranking points for both tours, plus Race to Dubai and Ryder Cup points for European Tour members, and Order of Merit points for the Ladies European Tour.

Ryder Cup star Stenson is confirmed to play in the tournament for the next three years and ten-time Major winner Sörenstam, who retired from competitive golf in 2008, will play in the tournament pro-ams. Swedish golf fans will be able to watch a host of the world’s top male and female golfers in Stockholm this year before the tournament rotates venues in 2021 and 2022.

Annika Sorenstam

“I’m extremely excited to host the Scandinavian Mixed alongside Annika, one of the best golfers the world has seen, and to have men and women competing alongside one another showcases what is great about our game,” said Stenson, an 11-time European Tour winner.

“The European Tour has been leading the way in terms of innovative formats and I believe this is certainly one that can be part of the way golf is played in the future. Making our game accessible to everyone is something I am extremely passionate about, having worked with Fanny Sunesson for a number of years hosting the Stenson Sunesson Junior Challenge in Barsebäck, as well as promoting Paragolf in Sweden through my foundation, so I am delighted to have this new event for both male and female professional golfers in Sweden.”

Sörenstam added: “I’m delighted to host the Scandinavian Mixed alongside Henrik in Sweden for the next three years. Bringing women and men together in a combined tournament is exciting for fans in Sweden and for the global game as we continue to showcase golf as a game for everyone.

Henrik Stenson. © Getty Images

“Since retiring from competitive golf in 2008, I have dedicated a lot of my time to the ANNIKA Foundation, which hosts seven global events for junior girls each year including the ANNIKA Invitational Europe. This mixed tournament is another way to bring our game to the younger generation in Sweden and for those watching around the world.”

Keith Pelley, chief executive officer of the European Tour, added: “Inclusivity and innovation are two of our key pillars and we are delighted to have global stars in Henrik and Annika leading the way as hosts of the Scandinavian Mixed in their home country of Sweden as we continue to drive golf further.

“We have been in close collaboration with the women’s game in recent years, not only on the European Tour, but also across the European Challenge Tour and Staysure Tour with events held in Northern Ireland and Jordan. This tournament is the next step for male and female golfers to compete together on one course, for one prize fund, and one trophy.”

Alexandra Armas, who was acting chief executive officer of the Ladies European Tour last year, said: “This is a pivotal moment for European golf. This new tournament in Sweden will be an innovative and inclusive new offering which will elevate our sport to the next level and advance gender balance, ultimately showing that golf is a game for all. Sweden has always produced a wealth of world class golfers and we look forward to having a strong field featuring the best Swedish women including major winners and those whom featured in Europe’s Solheim Cup victory last year.”

Barry Lane, Olivia Cowan and Borja Virto all took part in last year’s Jordan Mixed Open, a similar initiative featuring 40 players from each of the Challenge Tour, the European Senior Tour and the Ladies European Tour, together with three high-level amateur golfers

Björn Örås, founder of Bro Hof Slott Golf Club, said: “We are thrilled Bro Hof Slott Golf Club will host the inaugural Scandinavian Mixed tournament. Henrik and Annika have done so much over the years promoting golf in Sweden, and they will yet again use our game to bring men and women together on the world stage. We are excited to see some of the stars of the European Tour and Ladies European Tour tee it up at Bro Hof Slott next year.”

One of the major successes on the European Tour has been the continuation of women professionals in the format for GolfSixes and the concept of men and women competing together remains prominent with the announcement of the Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik & Annika.

This year’s Berkhamsted Trophy will feature men and women competing for the first time in its history.

In addition to GolfSixes Cascais, men and women professionals will play together at the Trophée Hassan II tournament in Morocco in June, as well as at the ISPS Handa Vic Open in Australia in the first half of this month.

 

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire February 18, 2020 07:31
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