Former British Open champion Paul LAWRIE believes the debut of the men’s and women’s mixed team championships on the Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course on Saturday could be the start of something big for golf.
The format is foursomes stroke play with a man and a woman in the same team playing alternate shots with the same ball.
Their total for 18 holes is added to that of another pairing from the same nation, and the lowest combined total wins gold.
“I thought it was cool when I read the format, ladies and men playing together,” LAWRIE said. “Saturday is going to be really cool. I think it is phenomenal.
“Let’s hope if it goes well we can think of doing more going forward because it would be great to have a regular mixed event. Why not?”
Eleven teams are competing, with the British duo of Laura DAVIES and Callum SHINKWIN (GBR) combining their 18-hole score with Georgia HALL and Lee SLATTERY (GBR) as the favourites.
“Scheduling a mixed team event might be difficult, but I would hope that after Saturday, the [men’s and women’s] tours might look at it and go, ‘man, that was an innovative way to do it and a great way to do it. Let’s see if we can fit something in’,” LAWRIE said.
“It’s important that we try. There are very few girls playing golf. We need more girls, so if they can see they can play with the men in an event, then it’s got to be good for the game, it’s got to grow the game.
“If there is a will to do it then they will absolutely find a way to schedule it.
“A lot of people need to sit down and agree on everything, to tick a lot of boxes to keep everyone happy. But let’s hope they can get together and find a way.”
Lawrie, 49, and an Open winner at Carnoustie in 1999 as well as being a Ryder Cup vice-captain, is having to deal with a foot injury, but says he would love to play in a mixed team event.
“Absolutely, I am of the era now where it’s important to give back, to grow the game. So if a mixed event brings people into golf, I’d love to play in it. There is no reason why you wouldn’t.”