The European Tour breaks new ground this week when it joins forces with its female equivalent to co-host the first-ever mixed event at this level.
Jointly hosted by Sweden’s greatest ever male and female golfers, Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam, the Scandinavian Mixed tournament will take place at Vallda Golf & Country Club, located around 20 miles south of Gothenburg.
The maiden tournament was due to be held last summer, but was cancelled because of the pandemic.
Twelve months later, history will finally be made when 78 golfers from the European Tour will tee-up alongside the same number from the Ladies European Tour (LET) to contest 72 holes of stroke play.
There will be a prize fund of €1m for this officially-designated Tour event, with World Ranking points available. It will also count towards qualifying for the Solheim Cup.
The 156 competitors are competing for one prize fund and a one trophy.
Latest odds for this week’s Scandinavian Mixed tournament at Vallda
Vallda, which opened 12 years ago, is equipped with undulating greens, along with fast running fairways and quick putting surfaces. There is a distinct links feel to it.
It’s difficult to know what to expect this week, with regards to pin-pointing those likely to perform well.
To some, it may feel like a novelty event or a pre-tournament pro-am.
It’s hard to judge whether behaviour will change. Certainly, in the earlier rounds, some players may feel a little restricted in the way they express themselves after a good or bad shot. Even the most minor of changes can disrupt a player’s normal routine and flow.
Regarding good current form, Tour veteran Joost Luiten has shown some improved consistency in recent weeks.
The former world No 28 from the Netherlands has posted five top-20 finishes from his last six starts – albeit in mediocre fields.
That said, this week’s contingent will be of a similar standard with Sam Horsfield the highest-ranked men’s golfer, at No 86 in the world, taking part.
Latest odds for next week’s US Open in California
Over the past six and a half months, Finland’s Kalle Samooja has been moving ever closer to a maiden European Tour success.
He lost a play-off in Cyprus last November, while adding two more top-four finishes, including one in Dubai.
Among the female entries, there are plenty of golfers who have enjoyed a strong start to the Ladies European Tour (LET) year.
One such player is Helsinki-born Sanna Nuutinen who has registered top-10 finishes in all three tournaments staged on Tour during 2021.
Experienced South African Lee-Ann Pace, 40, is the standout player this week.
The 10-time winner on Tour triumphed at last month’s South African Open, and arrives in Sweden after playing all four days of last week’s US Open in California.
And Annika Sorenstam makes a competitive return to the LET, having retired from competition in 2008.
The 10-time major winner, now 50, played a one-off tournament on the LPGA Tour earlier this year, finishing 74th, after rounds of 75-71-79-76.
Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive
Note: List Contains Leading Reserves
Note: Only Ladies European Tour results included in table (not LPGA Tour).