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European Tour and Ladies European Tour combine for first dual event at same course

The European Tour and Ladies European Tour have combined to make history as they both stage events at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam this week in Morocco.

For the first time, the two organisations will run concurrent events in a bid to encourage participation and attract fans to the sport and organisers have said this will not be a one-off.

With less than 100 days to go until golf returns to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years, the two tour chief executives are hopeful this can act as a show-piece for Rio.

Past European Solheim Cup team members Laura Davies (left) and Melissa Reid will be heading up the female field in Morocco
Past European Solheim Cup team members Laura Davies (left) and Melissa Reid will be heading up the female field in Morocco

“It’s terrific to be here alongside the LET to stage the men’s and women’s tournaments just three months prior to the Olympics,” Keith Pelley, the European Tour chief executive, said.

“There are many Olympic hopefuls competing in both tournaments, so it’s a great opportunity to showcase the strength of the men’s and the women’s games.

“I hope it’s the start of an increased collaboration to come between the two Tours. We can grow and get stronger together.”

Keith Pelley (European Tour) and Ivan Khodabakhsh (Ladies European Tour) believe that holding coinciding events will help to grow the appeal of the game
Keith Pelley (European Tour) and Ivan Khodabakhsh (Ladies European Tour) believe that holding coinciding events will help to grow the appeal of the game

The inclusion of golf in the Olympics has been met with varying degrees of support and while the men and women will play in different weeks in Brazil, there is a positivity about having events that run at the same time.

“Hopefully in the future we will have more events like this one, and maybe one day we might have a mixed event because it would be fun,” Alexander Levy, a two-time winner on the European Tour, told the organisation.

The tours are hopeful that the innovation will allow golf to follow other successful concurrent male and female tours such as tennis.

I think it’s pretty special to have both events in the same week at the same club, and I’m really grateful to the people who had this amazing idea.

Gwladys Nocera, defending champion

“We need to look beyond the borders of golf and in other sports we can see the best practices,” Ivan Khodabakhsh, of the Ladies European Tour, said.

“We can see in tennis and in other sports, actually having both genders side by side in a great event competing gives so much more colour, provides so much more for the fans and hopefully we can gain new fans coming to the sport.

Another event has been confirmed to combine the two tours when the inaugural European Championships are held at Gleneagles in 2018.

The men will tee off on the Red Course in the Trophee Hassan II while over on the Blue Course the women will be competing in the Lalla Meryem Cup. The tournament begins on Thursday May 5.

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