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Pioneering Jordan Mixed Open to Make History

By: Golfshake Editor | Fri 29 Mar 2019 | Comments

The upcoming Jordan Mixed Open will make history, seeing women and men competing in the same event for a single prize fund. Bringing together the Challenge Tour, Staysure (Senior) Tour and Ladies European Tour, players from all three circuits will be united at the Greg Norman designed Ayla Golf Club, with different tees ensuring that it's a level playing field.

The course set-up will see the Challenge Tour players tee-up from 7,152-yards, with the Staysure Tour players competing from a scorecard reduced by seven per cent, at 6,601-yards.

There will then be a further seven per cent reduction for the Ladies European Tour players, who will compete from a scorecard measured at 6,139-yards, which, as is the case for all three tours, is comparable to the length the competitors would play from under standard tournament conditions.

Stars from across the world of golf have given their backing to this exciting tournament, which marks the first time in history that male and female golf professionals will compete alongside each other in a full field event over the same course for a single trophy.

Former European Ryder Cup player, Phillip Price, two-time Major champion, Greg Norman, and Scottish professional, Carly Booth, are among several high-profile players who have been vocal in their support for the pioneering event, which will get underway at Ayla Golf Club, in Jordan, on Thursday 4th April.

Booth, a multiple winner on the Ladies European Tour, commented: “I am delighted to be taking part in this unique event in Jordan. I’ve always believed that we are all equal and creating environments where that can be celebrated can only be a good thing for our sport and also for our communities. It’s a great concept and I can’t wait to get going.”

It’s a concept that has garnered worldwide attention, with Ayla’s golf course designer and legend of the game, Greg Norman, quick to lend his support to the innovative format.

‘’Any initiative that sets to break down the barriers that prevent people from taking up the sport and that looks to change the narrative regarding women and girls in sport must be encouraged. To construct a format in which women and men compete together over the same course is an impressive feat and there is no doubt that events that showcase golfing talent regardless of gender, such as the Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla, are the future of the game,’’ Greg Norman said.

The Australian, who spent over three-hundred weeks as the World No. 1 in the 1980s and 1990s and has since earned significant acclaim for his business and golf course design ventures, has been a vocal supporter of gender equality in the game and it is consequently fitting that the pioneering tournament should be staged at a Greg Norman-designed layout.

Ladies European Tour winner Meghan MacLaren, who created headlines last month when she highlighted golf’s gender pay disparity, former Ryder Cup player Barry Lane and Senior LPGA Champion Trish Johnson are among several other notable players who will tee it up at the spectacular Red Sea venue for the co-sanctioned event, including the husband and wife pair of Kylie and Scott Henry.

Three-time European Tour winner and member of the victorious 2002 Ryder Cup squad, Phillip Price, is also in the field for the strokeplay tournament, which will see 40 players from each co-sanctioning tour and a leading amateur from the men’s, ladies’ and over-50s’ games compete over three days on Ayla’s championship course.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity, not only to compete with the female players, but also to test my game against the up-and-coming players on the Challenge Tour,” the Welshman commented. “Playing golf in Jordan and competing against the Ladies European Tour professionals are both new and exciting experiences and it’s going to be really interesting to see how the format works in practice.”

The layout has been specifically set-up to ensure competitors from each circuit can compete over an equal playing field, with bunkering and hazards, alongside tee placement, taken into consideration.

In addition to staging the Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla and hosting several legs on the MENA Tour’s ‘Journey to Jordan’, Ayla has earned considerable plaudits for its sustainable design, which Greg Norman described upon the venue’s opening as ‘among the top-three most eco-friendly golf courses in the world, if not the first.’

The event should be compelling and may potentially point to a future pathway for the game to become more inclusive and diverse.

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Tags: LET Ladies European Tour

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