The Niggle: Should we have a mixed-gender team competition?

Members of our team give their views on whether or not we should have a mixed-gender Solheim/Ryder Cup

With the Solheim Cup being just around the corner and World number three Stacy Lewis stating previously that a mixed-gender Ryder Cup would be a ‘great thing’ – we wanted to discuss whether the possibility of a mixed competition would/could work.

The American openly admitted she’d love to be paired with the likes of Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth.

Would it be a great thing? Could it ever actually happen? What would be the best format? Members of our team give their views.

Tom Irwin (TI) – It would be a challenge for golf, as there would be much discussion about length of course, and different tees etc.

It is quite an exciting idea overall though, golf has a unique handicapping and tee system that allows all ages, sexes, and abilities to compete with each other that no other sport can offer. 

It was done correctly then it could quickly showcase golf as a sport for all which has to better than the perception  of the sport for exclusively a sport for elderly, affluent white men.

Anything that maintains the integrity of the game, but broadens its appeal has to be positive.
Anything that breaks the monotony of 72-hole strokeplay (and doesn’t involve celebrities) is to be encouraged as far as I am concerned" Dan Murphy (DM) – It’s a brilliant idea and would generate much-needed interest in the ladies’ game. They could play mixed foursomes and greensomes, which would be great to watch.

The only concern is how you would guarantee the strongest possible field. As soon as the very best players don’t turn up then interest levels plummet. We’ve all seen what has happened to the Seve Trophy recently after a promising beginning.

Anything that breaks the monotony of 72-hole strokeplay (and doesn’t involve celebrities) is to be encouraged as far as I am concerned.

Mark Townsend (MT) – It would be good and it’s no surprise that the women would be keen. Having the US Open the week after the men’s at the same venue proved a masterstroke by the USGA and it was great to see the world’s best mixing and sharing course notes.

At the risk of being a doom-monger it’s not going to happen, at least not any time soon. At present the first blank week on the PGA Tour calendar comes halfway through November. 

Sadly money talks and, if they’re not writing extraordinarily huge cheques for the men, then they won’t come.

Which is a pity as it would generate five times as much interest as the Open. And wouldn’t involve Huey Lewis and Ian Botham.

James Savage (JS) – I agree with MT. It would be great – particularly for the profile of the women’s game – but it won’t happen. The PGA said it’s “not on their radar”. If a few big name male stars starting throwing their weight behind it something might reach the discussion table. But you get the impression that stage is nowhere near. 

I also agree with DM that unless you get the very best players in the world, it loses its integrity straight away. 

I’m all for it, I think golf fans in general would be all for it too but ultimately it probably depends on how much the stars and authorities of the men’s game want it.


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