Ogilvy Clamoring For More Mixed-Gender Events

Count 2006 U.S. Open Geoff Ogilvy as one of the many who not only enjoys mixed-gender golf tournaments, but also is yearning for more of them.

This week marks the second year in a row that the ISPS Handa Vic Open, an event co-sanctioned by the European Tour, the LPGA Tour, the PGA of Australia and Australian Ladies Professional Golf, has taken place with men and women playing concurrently on the same course and for the same prize purse.

Speaking ahead of the event, Ogilvy, one of the game’s most thoughtful interviews, expressed his feelings on mixed-gender events. 

“There’s more than just guys, you know. It just makes sense,” Ogilvy said at the Vic Open. “We should do this more often. The fact that this happens only once in a year is just nonsense.”

“All I wanted to do was watch the women and how they went about it,” Ogilvy went on. “Some of them are just machines, they don’t hit bad shots and they hit hybrids on to the green to 10 feet all day.

“It’s just a different style. There’s something to be learned from both sides and there’s enjoyment in watching both styles of play.”

Ogilvy isn’t the only one who sees the merit of these mixed-gender events. Already in the works later this year is Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam’s mixed-gender Scandinavian Masters and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said recently that it’s “only a matter of time” before the PGA Tour embraces a co-sanctioned event with the LPGA Tour.

“It’s probably just golf being stuck in traditions. You see the Japanese ladies’ tour is a much bigger and more successful tour in Japan than the men’s tour is,” Ogilvy said. “Whenever it’s presented properly, it seems like it’s just as popular. It just needs to have the opportunity. It’s just a bit of creative thinking.”

That creative thinking seems to be taking hold to some extent with The Guardian reporting that the biennial World Cup competition is in line for a $3 million purse increase as well as the introduction of women’s teams. 

“Female golfers could be the biggest beneficiaries of an ambitious scheme to revolutionize the sport’s World Cup, with plans afoot to boost prize money and introduce mixed-gender teams,” Ewan Murray wrote. “The plan would boost the competition’s purse from $7m to upwards of $10m, with female golfers entering the fold seen as commercially beneficial.”

It would seem that Ogilvy isn’t the only one that is craving more of these types of events.