Larry Canning ruminating on: “A Delightful, Mixed Arrangement”

Larry CanningTHE players are happy, the fans are wrapped and it appears the sponsors are ready to jump on board again for 2021!

Eight years ago the Victorian Open became a Multi-Sexual, or as the Americans call it “Multeye-Sexual”, or as the people from the R&A call it – “A Delightful, Mixed Arrangement” event – and for a bunch of very good reasons it was an absolute masterstroke!

Not the least of which is the fact that the girls and boys play for exactly the same amount of loot, making it the benchmark for prize money equality. This also gives the open co-sanctioning with the all-powerful US LPGA Tour which in turn assures a world class field of women golfers.

The blokes tournament isn’t exactly lacklustre either. Again because the Men’s Vic Open is co-sanctioned with the European PGA Tour we are not only guaranteed a good field but also TV coverage all over the world – and now the Vic government are on the team… it just all fits together beautifully.

The Vic Open practice range… you won’t see this at most tournaments around the world. Photo: Golf Australia

If my over positive take on this event hasn’t already begun to bore you to within a tap in of suicide, can I say 13th Beach Golf Course is an absolute ripper as well? I think I just did. For this Championship to work with two fields of 144 it obviously needs two great tracks. And 13th Beach gives us exactly that.

The Creek Course is 75% parkland and 25% sandbelt while the Beach Layout is 110% links. The wind is always a factor which means a great course designer like Tony Cashmore, with a little help from Nick Faldo, has to make the course playable even in a gale. When the wind occasionally doesn’t whip up and you can overcome some visual intimidation, both courses are extremely playable for everyone including a medium to well-done golf pro. No crazy carries over water or stupidly tight fairways which have you skulking into the pro shop after 9 holes and discretely picking through the “8 balls for $10” basket. If you’re lucky no one hears the friendly Pro who, despite pulling your cap down to cover your face, spots you and says – “Hey Larry! There’s a special on Calla-Made Pro Bee’s…..twenty bucks a dozen.”

Before you ask if I’m being paid to do an advertorial for the ISPS Handa Vic Open, I do have one problem. OK, mixed golf is great and maybe the template for the future but this place is so bloody nice and relaxed, I reckon it lacks a little pressure for the players. I’m going to suggest to the tournament organisers we make a slight change to the format by adding some serious incentive.

In my opinion, real pressure at a Women’s and Men’s golf event would be having to hole a three footer to make the cut…  in a husband and wife mixed foursomes. Now we’re talking pressure!

Miss that puppy and your in for an absolute gob full. Then a drive home conversation resembling this: “……………………………”

I suppose you could include a brother sister combination in the rules. Of course we would have to exclude siblings who have won the Vic Open before…. and are from West Australia.

Other venues around the world are having a crack at incorporating boys and girls into their already existing tournaments. The latest being the Scandinavian Mixed hosted by Henrik and Annika. That’s Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam of course. It’s being played in June at the famous Bro Hof Slott Golf Club in Sweden. Which translated, apparently means – “Booking Him and Her in for a hit in the same time slot”  

That event goes one step further than ours with the boys and girls actually playing against each other for the same purse and trophy. I’m not sure that’s a great idea but I guess it still brings the concept into a conversation. I assume the Swedish organisers have used a formula to determine the distance differential for the tee markers. I hope they had more luck trying to find the simple comparative average driving distance between the PGA Tour and the LPGA. My attempt at researching this has come up some fascinating data including how far Cameron Champ can hit a drive on a downhill right to left Bermuda fairway into a left to right wind right after he has just three putted from 10 feet.

Any way the “A Delightful, Mixed Arrangement” event is going gangbusters and is being seen all over the globe. And Melbourne, Australia did it first!

Well NSW cant be the first with everything can it?

 

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