Self-confessed “golf tragic” Geoff Ogilvy has called for greater gender integration in golf tournaments, saying: “There’s more than just guys in the world.”
The former US Open champion was speaking ahead of this week’s ISPS Handa Vic Open in his native Australia, a pioneering competition that sees two separate tournaments – one sanctioned by the European Tour and another by the LPGA – take place side by side.
Last year’s events were won by Scotland’s David Law and Celine Boutier of France.
In time, Ogilvy, 42, hopes that concurrent men’s and ladies’ events become more of a trend than an exception.
“I found last year that all I wanted to do was watch the women and how they went about it,” said the Aussie. “Some of them are just machines. They just don't hit bad shots and they hit hybrids on to the green to ten feet all day. When I hit a hybrid, I'm happy to hit it within 30 yards of the green. It's just a different style.
“There's something to be learnt from both sides and there's enjoyment in watching both styles of play.”
Ogilvy pointed to how successfully tennis has been able to co-stage men’s and women’s events.
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“I know to some people it's not complete equality, but at least they play on the same place and the same time, they play for the same prize money in Australia at the matches and stuff.
“There's more than just guys in the world, you know. I think it just makes sense. The footie's gone really well, I never thought that would work, but there's an appetite for it, I know there is. Yeah, it's just great. We should do this more often. The fact this happens only once in a year is just nonsense.”
Asked why he believes that the Vic Open currently exists as an outlier, Ogilvy added: “It's probably just that golf's been stuck in conservative traditions for a long time. The Japanese ladies’ tour is a much bigger and more successful tour than the men's tour is and, whenever it's presented properly, it's just as popular it seems like. I feel like it just needs to have the opportunity.”