Editor’s Note: This article is a part of the new Stick and Hack series “What If?” In this series, we speculate and question what the PGA Tour would look like under different circumstances.

There has been a lot of buzz lately on social media regarding the request by fans in the golf community for a golf tournament involving both the PGA and LPGA Tours. The most recent suggestion I have come across is the call to make the President’s Cup a men’s and women’s event. I even took it upon myself to take an Instagram poll asking what people think the LPGA Tour needs in order to bring in more viewership. The number one answer? People want to see the ladies play alongside the guys. The skill is there, the want is there, it’s just a matter of making it happen. This plan would elevate women’s golf and put a unique spin on a golf schedule that could use a revamp. So why has it not been done yet?

Well, it has. 

I had the privilege in 2019 to play professional golf in Australia. In doing so, I played in a Monday qualifier for the Victorian Open at 13th Beach Golf Club in Barwon Heads, Victoria, Australia. I missed earning a spot in the field by 3 strokes (Yes, I’m still a little bit bitter about it) but out of sheer curiosity, I decided to check out the event anyway.

The ISPS Handa Vic Open is unique to the professional golf world in a number of ways. Men and women play on the same golf course, at the same time, for the same amount of money. Groundbreaking. Forward-thinking. Revolutionary. The Vic Open figured it out. They learned that the combination of men’s and women’s sports brings a newfound excitement to a fanbase that longs to see something different. 

Whenever an idea like this one arises, it is often immediately followed up with mentions of logistical barriers (and the snide comments of the occasional angry guy on Instagram): 

  • Women’s sports have much lower viewership ratings than men’s
  • Women must play from shorter yardages than the men
  • Corporations are more likely to sponsor a men’s event than a women’s event because of the value of exposure-resulting in a lack of funding for women’s sports.

The Vic Open managed to bypass all of these issues and create an event that works for both the men and the women. This just shows that it can be done. In the words of Mike Whan, former LPGA Commissioner, “Title IX didn’t happen because of a sudden spike in women’s viewership.  A bunch of lawmakers just got sick of telling their daughters to dream a little less “big” than their sons.”

Women’s golf won’t grow by sitting around and hoping it does. Sometimes all it takes is a decision in the right direction and a little help from the guys. Hey PGA Tour, if you’re reading this, I’m calling you out! In a press conference with Golf Australia during the 2020 Vic Open, Geoff Ogilvy spoke about his interest in watching the women play throughout the week; “There’s just a different style. There’s something to be learned from both sides, and there’s enjoyment in watching both styles of play…there’s an appetite for it. I know there is.”

I couldn’t have said it any better myself. So what if? We’ll never know if we never try. 

PGA Tour, your move. 

Kayla Jones

Kayla is a professional golfer on the LPGA Symetra Tour and the Women’s All-Pro Tour. She has played professionally overseas on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour as well. Kayla graduated from Florida State University after playing all 4 years on the golf team there. Go Noles.