Golf appears to be back on the brink of an official mixed-field event.
On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that next year’s QBE Shootout will be transitioned in order to pit the biggest stars from men’s and women’s golf together for the first time in more than two decades.
The Shootout will be a mixed-team event, according to the report, featuring members of the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour competing alongside one another and against other teams of PGA/LPGA pros. Details of the event, including the proposed structure, were unknown at the time of publishing.
Currently, Shootout competitors play a trio of formats during the three-day, 54-hole event, beginning with an opening-round scramble before transitioning into modified alternate shot and best ball for the final two rounds. This format could be repurposed for the mixed-team event when it fully transitions to include LPGA pros.
Prior to Monday’s report, the Shootout was already one of the best opportunities for members of the men’s and women’s games to co-mingle. The tournament format calls for 10 “special exemptions” into the field, a group that includes Lexi Thompson and Nelly Korda in 2022.
Participation will prove a key piece of the puzzle for the PGA Tour, which was forced to discontinue its last mixed-team event, the JC Penney Classic, in 1999 due in part to lackluster interest from the top members of the men’s game. Men’s and women’s mixed events have had an uneasy history due in part to tepid interest driven by these power dynamics.
Of course, money is one way to drum up intrigue. The Shootout currently offers a $3.8 million total purse — a modest sum by PGA Tour standards. In theory, the addition of women’s stars would juice interest not only from viewing audiences but also from potential sponsors, which could aid the overall purse value of the event. Still, it remains to be seen whether even a boosted purse will be enough to draw significant interest in the Shootout, an event that is sparsely attended by the game’s highest echelon during a traditionally quiet period of the season. This year, World No. 16 Max Homa marks the highest-ranked player competing in the event.
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