'Balance' struck in set up for Scandinavian Mixed event, says tournament chief

Officials used 2018 Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn and Swedish star Linda Wessberg as guinea pigs to test the set up for this weeks’ ground-breaking Scandinavian Mixed event hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Henrik Stenson.

Tournament hosts Annika Sorenstam and Henrik Stenson have some fun ahead of the Scandinavian Mixed at Vallda Golf & Country Club near Gothenburg. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images.

And, helped by their input, tournament director Mikael Eriksson is confident a “balance” will be struck over the 18 holes as 78 men and 78 women go head-to-head for the same trophy and same €1m prize fund at Vallda Golf Club outside of Gothenburg.

“We had a couple of trials here with tour players. Linda Wessberg has been here and Joel Sjoholm as well,” said Eriksson as the event, which features nine Scots, got underway this morning.

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“We started that process in September and, as late as last Saturday, we had Linda and Thomas Bjorn play from the tees we selected in September.

“We got pretty close in September to where we wanted to be, but, on Saturday, we adjusted another couple of tees for the women and we think we have the set up pretty much where we want it to be.”

Designed by Martin Hawtree, the heathland course, which draws inspiration from the British courses of the 1920s, is playing at just over 7,000 yards for the men.

"The course is playing approximately 1,000 shorter for the ladies or 14.5 per cent and hopefully we will see a good mix in the scores,” added Eriksson.

“We’ve had all our referees speaking to the players this week and we’ve got some feedback. They all seem to be enjoying the set up and the condition of the course.

“The toughest thing is that we can’t set up every hole equally difficult or equally easy. Some holes will play more difficult for women and some holes will play more difficult for men.

“I think to find a balance over 18 holes is the important thing and I think we are almost there.”

Bjorn, Sorenstam and Stenson are in the marquee group in the opening two rounds on Thursday and Friday.

Kelsey MacDonald, Carly Booth, Michele Thomson, Kylie Henry, Alison Muirhead and Laura Murrau are flying the Saltire in the event along with Richie Ramsay, David Drysdale and Marc Warren.

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