Mixed-team golf is coming to the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour this year. On Wednesday, the two tours announced they will combine to put on the Grant Thornton Invitational on December 8-10 at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida. Thirty-two golfers, 16 men and 16 women, will team up to play for a $4 million prize across three days.
"As we look to capitalize on the growing interest in the game of golf, the addition of a mixed event to the calendar has been a priority, and we greatly appreciate title sponsor Grant Thornton for their support in delivering an event that will make our sport more appealing and welcoming to all," said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan in a statement.
"We could not be more excited to add the Grant Thornton Invitational to our 2023 schedule," added LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan. "By joining forces with the PGA Tour to host a mixed event where the top male and female golfers in the world compete alongside each other, we're going to deliver a memorable and entertaining experience for all golf fans, showcasing our players' incredible skills in a new context to a new audience."
This mixed-team venture is hardly a new endeavor. From 1960-99, the JCPenney Classic was played at a variety of golf courses in Florida and California. Davis Love III and Beth Daniel won it one twice, as did Bill Glasson and Pat Bradley. Fred Couples, Tom Kite, Mickey Wright, Curtis Strange, Nancy Lopez and Juli Inkster are all former champions. In the final year of its existence, John Daly and Laura Davies teamed up to win the event.
It remains to be seen what the exact format for this year's competiton will be, but we do know some of the competitors.
Rickie Fowler and Jessica Korda will play together, as will Tony Finau and Nelly Korda. All four are Grant Thornton ambassadors and should provide some good fireworks for this event.
All in all, this announcement and this event are a win for golf fans. Mixed team events are fun, entertaining and great for folks who love golf, especially when the best players in the world on both the men's and women's side are involved.
In light of everything that's transpired in the golf world, a win for golf fans is something we haven't had enough of over the last year. This is one, let's hope for several more.