Keith Pelley: mixed European golf tournaments will be rare
Golf fans keen to see more mixed events between the European Tour and Ladies European Tour need to temper their hopes, according to European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley. The Euro head is keen to collaborate with the Ladies European Tour, but insists mixed events will be few and far between instead of becoming the norm.
The European Tour and Ladies European Tour will make history this year by co-sanctioning the €1.5 million Scandinavian Mixed hosted by Henrik and Annika at Bro Hof Slot Golf Club in Stockholm. Men and women will compete for one prize fund and one trophy in a head to head battle of the sexes that should make for intriguing viewing.
The European Tour and LET will soon announce another collaborative event similar to the Trophée Hassan II and Lalla Meryem Cup held in June at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Morocco, simultaneous tournaments at the same club over two different courses.
Three tournaments may be the sum total of collaboration between the European Tour and LET.
Pelley has to walk a fine line between helping the LET on the one hand and looking after his members on the other. Euro Tour players are already asking him the sum total of involvement with the LET.
“We had quite a very robust dialogue around the Scandinavian Mixed with our tournament committee, and that exact question was asked: how many events are we going to do with the women on an annual basis and what’s the real number?” Pelley admitted.
“Is the right number three, is the right number five? Is it a separate little tour within a tour? All these are discussions we’re having now. We don’t know the right answer. I do know that a full mixed tour is not what we are talking about. We’re talking about collaboration throughout our season on occasions, at key moments when we bring women and men together to play on the same platform which is very good for the game and very good for our partners.”
The Scandinavian Mixed was a relatively easy sell to the European Tour's 15-man tournament committee, which represents the interests of the players. Rest assured though that there will be rank and file Euro Tour players who might not be happy that they can’t get into the field because half of it is comprised of LET members.
“It is something we will watch very very closely. It is the first time women and men are competing on the same stage with one prize purse. So that is going to be a real interesting experiment.”
“Experiment” could be the operative word.
“We’re talking about collaboration throughout our season on occasions, at key moments when we bring women and men together to play on the same platform,” Pelley added.
“There is number that makes sure it continues to be creative and unique but it’s not commonplace. They are a Ladies European Tour, a women’s Tour, we’re a men’s tour. We’re going to collaborate because it is best for the game and its best for the commercial side of the game as well.”