The PGA and LPGA announced they will participate in a team event at the end of the year, with a chance to see golf stars like Rickie Fowler and Jessica Korda team up. How cool is that?
How refreshing it is to read a headline about the PGA that doesn’t mention their ongoing saga with LIV Golf. Let’s just get back to the game we all love and please leave all the animosity behind.
Well, a joint competition with the LPGA is the kind of news I’ve been hoping for. And it is simply awesome! It will be a chance to see some of the most popular golfers on tour play together, like Rickie Fowler—who’s having a fantastic season and is in the midst of a hopeful comeback—partnered with Jessica Korda, and also her younger sister, Nelly, the reigning gold medalist, alongside Tony Finau.
“The Grant Thornton Invitational really is about being inclusive and showing people that golf can be accessible for everyone, no matter what way you play,” said LPGA No. 2-ranked Nelly Korda, according to the Florida Times. “This is going to be the perfect opportunity for me to do something important in helping to grow the game and inspire the next generation.”
Grant Thornton Invitational is a step in the right direction for PGA-LPGA
Mixed-gender events are widely popular, like the fondly revered Hopman Cup in tennis, which featured some of the world’s best tennis players – like Switzerland’s Roger Federer and his compatriot, Olympic gold-medalist Belinda Bencic—playing in teams. It’s a fascinating concept that is beloved by so many in the sport, and gave tennis one of the most iconic images, such as two GOAT’s, Federer and Serena Williams playing against each other for the first time.
With the news that the Hopman Cup is returning this year—hooray!!—tennis will now have two mixed events, including the United Cup, which took place earlier this year.
Mixed-gender events are an excellent trend for sports like tennis and golf. Tennis is probably the most equal of all the sports, with parity across many of their tournaments, and is absolutely the case for all four grand slams. Golf has demonstrated that golf skills are on equal footing between men and women—with Hannah Green’s win at last year’s Australia “Player’s Series” event a recent example—even though the prize money still remains woefully unequal.
“PGA Tour athletes playing alongside the best athletes from the LPGA Tour is going to be incredible for our fans,” said Tony Finau in a statement. “They’ve been wanting something like this for a long time. Our fans deserve it and seeing Grant Thornton stepping up to help the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour put together this tournament, I think is very special.”
Sponsored by Grant Thornton, the PGA-LPGA tournament will take place Dec. 8-10 at Tiburón Golf Club and The Ritz-Carlton Naples with 16 two-player teams competing for a $4M purse. It’s the first type of event since the popular JC Penny Classic, which ran from 1960-1990 at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor. John Daly and Laura Davies won that last tournament. This year’s competition will air on NBC and the Golf Channel.
Let’s hope this is a growing trend in the sport. I’m absolutely loving it.