Stacy Lewis backs mixed-gender ‘Ryder Cup’

Stacy Lewis would be keen on the idea of a mixed-gender competition. Picture: Getty

Stacy Lewis would be keen on the idea of a mixed-gender competition. Picture: Getty

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WORLD number one Stacy Lewis has said a mixed-gender competition in the style of the Ryder Cup would be a ‘great thing’.

The 29-year-old told BBC Sport in an interview: “Anything like that would help sell our sport. I’d be a huge fan. I’d be all over it and love to play.”

And the Toledo-born golfer added that she would pick Rickie Fowler or Jordan Spieth to be her partner in the fourballs or foursomes, explaining: “They are both good putters under pressure.”

Lewis has played in the last two Solheim Cup competitions, which occur during odd years, while the Ryder Cup takes place in even years.

Between Ryder Cups, the USA competes against international opposition in the Presidents Cup.

Lewis admitted that finding the time to stage such a tournament could pose problems, adding: “The scheduling will be the hardest part and if anybody would get it started it’d be the PGA.”

Lewis, who won the 2013 British Open, said that the Women’s PGA Championship - formerly the LPGA Championship - due to begin next year would help ‘establish a relationship’ with the men’s game.

But PGA boss Pete Bevacqua played down the chances of a mixed-gender matchplay event.

“It’s an interesting idea, but it’s not on our radar screen,” he said.

“But never say never. As the women’s game continues to develop and grow then maybe that is something that is down the road,” he suggested.

Bevacque echoed Lewis’s concerns that scheduling could be the major stumbling block, adding: “It’s so difficult to find three, four, five days in the season. It becomes increasingly difficult to give serious thought to creating new events.

“But the more we can do mixed events, the better it will be for the game,” he insisted.

“Anything we can do to make golf more attractive and compelling is something we should be looking at.”

Lewis also pointed to the recent vote at the R&A to allow women members for the first time in 260 years as a sign of the change in thinking in golf.

She said: “There are still forces which are a little bit more strict with women. But in general you look at that vote - it’s 75 per cent. The times are changing so who knows what it leads to down the road.

“I haven’t experienced too many problems myself. I remember growing up as a kid and not being able to play with my dad until after 12 o’clock.”

“But it’s not quite the issue that it has been in the past,” she added.

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