Peter McEvoy has hailed Berkhamsted’s ‘brave’ decision to make the long-running Berkhamsted Trophy a mixed tournament.
The prestigious early season event will feature both sexes for the first time in its six-decade history – and McEvoy, who steered GB&I to two victories over the USA as Walker Cup captain, was the idea’s architect.
He told NCG he’d originally suggested it to Copt Heath, where the Peter McEvoy Trophy is staged each year, but a clash of dates with the Helen Holm, at Royal Troon, meant they weren’t viable hosts.
McEvoy, who is also a renowned course architect as well as a stalwart of the amateur game, was carrying out some consultancy work at Berkhamsted and said the club leapt at the idea when presented with the opportunity.
“The thing that has impressed me with Berkhamsted, particularly, is that this tournament has been going 60 years,” he explained.
“It’s got a long history. Almost the longer it goes, the harder it is to do something like this.
“You’re not going against the history but you are making a move away from what’s always been. That’s quite a brave thing to do, I think. They really need to be applauded for it.”
McEvoy believes the new Berkhamsted Trophy is a world-first for elite amateur golf and the 72-hole event takes centre stage from April 2 to 4.
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The club are currently working on a flexible teeing system with the R&A and England Golf, which will ensure both sexes compete on an equal footing, and McEvoy says it is vital “we get this right”.
He added: “We’ve got to get the tees right and make sure it’s the same difficulty and test for both men and women. There’s work to be done yet.
“I’ve some experience of doing this. We did a number of mixed gender events with PowerPlay Golf and I had to organise events with different tees for seniors, men, and women.
“Berkhamsted is a perfect golf course. It’s very much a test of course management skills. It’s absolutely ideal.”
Most of all, McEvoy hopes to see a strong field and tough competition.
“Firstly, I want as good a field as possible – so that we’ve got some of the best men playing against some of the best women,” he said. “I think that would be important.
“Obviously, I would like to see some men and women gravitating towards the top. I think the main thing is that it is competitive and everybody gets a chance to win.”
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