Aqaba, Jordan: Stars from across the world of golf have given their backing to the Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla, the first-of-its-kind event that will see women and men compete alongside each other for a single prize fund.
Former European Ryder Cup player Phillip Price, two-time Major champion Greg Norman and Scottish professional Carly Booth, are among several high-profile players who have been vocal in their support for the pioneering event, which will get underway at Ayla Golf Club on April 4.
Booth, a multiple winner on the Ladies European Tour (LET), said: “I am delighted to be taking part in this unique event in Jordan. I’ve always believed that we are all equal and creating environments where that can be celebrated can only be a good thing for our sport and also for our communities. It’s a great concept and I can’t wait to get going.”
The tournament, which will see competitors from the Challenge Tour, Staysure Tour and LET join forces, marks the first time in history that male and female golf professionals will compete alongside each other in a full field event over the same course for a single trophy.
It’s a concept that has garnered worldwide attention, with Ayla’s golf course designer Norman quick to lend his support to the innovative format.
“Any initiative that sets to break down the barriers that prevent people from taking up the sport and that looks to change the narrative regarding women and girls in sport must be encouraged. To construct a format in which women and men compete together over the same course is an impressive feat and there is no doubt that events that showcase golfing talent regardless of gender, such as the Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla, are the future of the game,” said Norman.
The Australian, who spent more than 300 weeks as the world number one in the 1980s and 1990s and has since earned significant acclaim for his business and golf course design ventures, has been a vocal supporter of gender equality in the game and it is consequently fitting that the pioneering tournament should be staged at a layout sculpted by Greg Norman Golf Course Design, a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
LET winner Meghan MacLaren, who created headlines recently when she highlighted golf’s gender pay disparity, former Ryder Cup player Barry Lane and Senior LPGA Champion Trish Johnson are among several other notable players who will tee it up at the spectacular Red Sea venue for the co-sanctioned event.
Three-time European Tour winner and member of the victorious 2002 Ryder Cup squad, Price is also in the field for the stroke play tournament, which will see 40 players from each co-sanctioning Tour and a leading amateur from the men’s, ladies’ and over-50s’ games compete over three days on Ayla’s championship course.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity, not only to compete with the female players, but also to test my game against the up-and-coming players on the Challenge Tour,” the Welshman said. “Playing golf in Jordan and competing against the Ladies European Tour professionals are both new and exciting experiences and it’s going to be really interesting to see how the format works in practice.”
The layout has been specifically set-up to ensure competitors from each circuit can compete over an equal playing field, with bunkering and hazards, alongside tee placement, taken into consideration.
In addition to staging the Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla and hosting several legs on the MENA Tour’s ‘Journey to Jordan’, Ayla has earned considerable plaudits for its sustainable design, which Norman described upon the venue’s opening as ‘among the top-three most eco-friendly golf courses in the world, if not the first.’