Now things are really being mixed up by golf’s king of innovation. Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s chief executive, has already introduced GolfSixes and the Shot Clock Masters into the game and his latest attempt to add some freshness to the schedule is another ground-breaker.
The Jordan Mixed Masters, to be held at Ayla Golf Club next April, will involve players from three circuits – the European Challenge Tour, the Ladies European Tour and the Staysure Tour, the new branded title for the European Senior Tour.
Forty players from each of those circuits, plus three leading amateurs – one from the men’s, ladies’ and over-50s’ games – will compete against each other in a single, mixed field in a tournament that aims to recognise the “importance of equality and equal opportunity”.
The Jordan Mixed Masters will see the three sets of players play from different tees, as was the case when LET players took on European Tour players in the second staging of GolfSixes at the Centurion Club, north of London, in May.
“The Jordan Mixed Masters, presented by Ayla, is a fantastic development for the Staysure Tour, the Challenge Tour and the Ladies European Tour,” said Pelley, who made no secret of the fact he was keen to shake up the game after he succeeded George O’Grady and continues to deliver in that respect.
“This unique event goes a step further, bringing together the stars of three Tours for a truly innovative tournament. There seems to be an appetite in golf for mixed events right now, and this is another opportunity to deliver another entertaining yet credible format.
“The European Tour is leading the transformation of global golf and I commend Ayla’s vision and their determination to spearhead the concept of hosting the three Tours.”
In addition to the GolfSixes battle of the sexes – which also saw Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn and Solheim Cup skipper Catriona Matthew join forces at the Centurion – male and female players are set to tee it up in August at Gleneagles in the inaugural European Golf Team Championships, which is part of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships and will include a mixed foursome event
There was further innovation at the Staysure Tour event won by Colin Montgomerie in Denmark earlier this month when English veteran Laura Davies become the first female to play on the men’s over-50s circuit.
“The Jordan Mixed Masters is the next step to show that golf is a game for all,” said Englishwoman Georgia Hall, who also played in the GolfSixes, reaching the quarter-finals along with compatriot Charley Hull. “The women are looking forward to joining together to make this another fantastic week and the future is looking good with more events like this on the calendar.”
Also welcoming the new event, four-time Staysure Tour winner Phil Golding added: “This is such a unique tournament. It’s fantastic that we have brought the three Tours together and it’s an event in a new country for us, which is another bonus. It’s great that we’re doing things a little bit different and this is another step after having Dame Laura play with us in Denmark. I’m really looking forward to it.”