ST. ALBANS, England – Eddie Pepperell only has himself to blame if he and partner Matt Wallace lose to the England’s women’s team in the opening round of the $1.2 million GolfSixes.
Pepperell is partly responsible for women playing this year.
The Englishman met with David Howell, chairman of the European Tour’s tournament committee, and David Probyn, assistant director of tour operations, in January to discuss ways of making the tournament more innovative in its second year. Imagine the sinking feeling in Pepperell’s stomach when he discovered he was in the same group as the England’s women’s team of Charley Hull and Georgia Hall, and the two pairs would face one another in their opening match.
“I’d rather beat the ladies tomorrow and miss every cut the rest of the year than lose and play well for the rest of the year,” Pepperell joked.
“We’ll get some stick (grief) on social media if we lose.
“Myself and Dave (Howell) were particularly keen on inviting a few different elements and the ladies were part of that. So for it to actually happen. … Either it’s my fault or a great idea.”
It is a great idea, according to everyone here this week, one that doesn’t happen often enough.
Carlota Ciganda and Mel Reid comprise a European women’s team, while 2019 European Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew joins European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn in a captain’s team. All five women were members of last year’s European Solheim Cup team.
“It’s great for us because it raises the exposure for women’s golf,” Matthew said. “We don’t often play with the men. If we can get more events where men and women are playing, not necessarily together but at the same course, that would be good for golf.”
Scotland’s Richie Ramsay returns this year to partner with former Augusta State (now known as Augusta University) player Scott Jamieson.
“It’s just a huge opportunity to get girls and women into golf,” Ramsay said.
Sixteen pairs in four groups of four play each other in round-robin match play, with the top two teams from each group going through to the knockout stages.
“It would be massive if one of the women’s teams won it,” Hall said.
Pepperell would agree as long as he’s not a losing finalist.