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By Ryan Herrington
The USGA held the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens in consecutive weeks on the same course, Pinehurst No. 2, in 2014. And the ISPS Handa Vic Open in Australia held concurrent men’s and women’s European Tour and LPGA events on the same course in February. But the announcement from the European Tour and Ladies European Tour on Monday goes the next step, bringing male and female tour pros together to compete in the same tournament for the same prize money.
The inaugural Scandinavian Mixed will be played June 11-14, 2020 at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club in Stockholm. With Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam hosting the event, 78 men and 78 women will play for a €1,500,000 purse. Official World Ranking points will be offered for both tours, along with points toward the European Tour’s and LET’s respective season-long competitions.
Specific logistical questions such as format, pairings and course set-up are still to come, but the concept of elite male and female golfers playing for the same title has the hosts enthusiastic about its potential impact on the sport.
“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 is a game for everyone,” Sorenstam said in a press release.
The two tours have signed on for a three-year commitment to the Scandinavian Mixed. Stenson says he’ll play each year, and Sorenstam, retired from competitive golf since 2008, will participate in the pro-am.
“The European Tour has been leading the way in terms of innovative formats,” Stenson said, “and I believe this is certainly one that can be part of the way golf is played in the future.”
Along with the Vic Open, the European Tour has experimented with mixed events by having female pros competing in the GolfSixes tournament.