Mark down Daan Huizing as the first winner of a full-field professional golf tournament featuring male, female and senior male professionals. The question is: Will the Jordan Mixed Open form the vanguard of a revolution in golf that sees men and women play together on a regular basis?
Let’s hope so, but don’t hold your breath.
For the record, Huizing defeated England’s Meghan MacLaren by two shots to win the $393,000 tournament co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour, European Challenge Tour and European Senior Tour. The Dutchman shot 16-under 64-68-68–200.
Needless to say, Huizing is a big fan of the unique format that saw competitors play the same course from three sets of tees.
“I think it’s a great initiative,” Huizing said. “It was great fun playing in a final group with a Challenge Tour player, a senior tour player and a lady player. It was a great battle. It’s a different vibe and very special to be the first winner. I hope it’s something that can be continued in the future.”
MacLaren is also a fan despite not capitalizing on a two-shot lead heading into the final round.
“I’m obviously pretty disappointed not to win this week, having been in such a good position, but it was still an honor to be here and represent women’s golf alongside two other great tours,” said MacLaren, who opened with consecutive 68s before closing with a level-par 72. “It was a great concept, but none of us really knew how it would pan out. The way the scores panned out throughout the week showed that it absolutely can work with the right thought process and course set-up if people do the research.
“It was a great concept and one that I hope can catch on in the future. The research that went into it played out with the scores, because it was pretty comparable across the three tours, so I’d like to see it happen more often.”
It needs to be done at the highest level to have any chance of catching on. A tournament featuring, say, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko, Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman and other top names would be fantastic and sure to catch the public eye.
The Jordan event won’t have registered much with golf fans because of the lack of marquee names in a week featuring a women’s major and the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
The European Tour has been incredibly innovative the last few years creating formats different to the steady diet of 72-hole stroke play. Golfsixes, Belgian Knockout, Shot Clock Challenge, ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth and other innovative events have peppered the schedule in recent years, but they haven’t exactly lit up golf. Indeed, the Shot Clock event fell off this year’s schedule. Most fans probably see these events as mere gimmicks not worthy of attendance. Like the Jordan tournament, star quality would elevate them.
The Jordan event proved it’s possible for men, women and seniors to compete on the same course. It would be fantastic to see it repeated at the highest level because of the interest it would generate. Let’s hope it happens. Just don’t go looking for tickets any time soon. Gwk