Is it worth sacrificing the Solheim Cup to create a mixed Presidents Cup? That is the simple question that needs to be answered by those calling for the PGA Tour’s biennial US v Rest of the World concept to include women in the competition.
There are several obvious and immediate benefits for both the LPGA and the women’s game more broadly by making the Presidents Cup mixed.
Come to think of it, there are several obvious and immediate benefits to the Presidents Cup as well.
But while I am, in principle, on board with the idea of women being part of the biennial contest I do foresee potential problems were it to proceed, especially for the Solheim Cup.
As it stands the continued American dominance of the Presidents Cup is doing little to increase the event’s credibility and without a shakeup of some sort it will simply limp along being viewed as the Ryder Cup’s inferior cousin.
"Losing the Solheim Cup is an unpalatable outcome to consider but would it serve the greater good of the game and women in the game?" - Rod Morri.
But introduce 12 of the best women players into the competition? It’s hard to imagine this wouldn’t immediately – and rightly – boost interest.
The pros, of course, are reasonably easy to spot but the cons of this idea – especially for women’s golf – need to be carefully weighed.
The Solheim Cup (which has mirrored the Ryder Cup in recent years in terms of excitement) would become almost untenable if a mixed Presidents Cup were to be adopted.
Like the Presidents Cup, the Solheim is traditionally played in non Ryder Cup years so as not to live in the shadow of the game’s premiere international matchplay event.
Switching to the same year as the Ryder Cup would be risky, at best, and potentially disastrous at worst.
Not switching means the top American women being asked to play two team matchplay events in a single year, something their male counterparts would never do (nor be asked to do).
So the question becomes is it worth sacrificing the Solheim Cup to create a mixed Presidents Cup?
There is no right or wrong answer, obviously, and there will be a range of opinions.
If it were up to me, however, I would give it serious consideration for a couple of reasons.
As good as the Solheim Cup has been in recent years it has one very obvious flaw: it lacks many of the best women players in the world as they don’t hail from Europe or the US.
That spectators will never get to see Inbee Park or Jin Young Ko or Hannah Green perform on that stage is an undeniable weakness which a mixed Presidents Cup would solve.
That same fact would help overcome one of the other major problems of the Presidents Cup: its lack of competitiveness.
The top six Internationals from the men’s side have always held their own with the best six from the US but further down the balance skews very much towards the Americans.
Bring in the top six American women and the top six women from Europe and the rest of the world, however, and on paper at least you have a much more even match.
Losing the Solheim Cup is an unpalatable outcome to consider but would it serve the greater good of the game and women in the game?
As difficult as the answer might be and as radical a notion as a mixed Presidents Cup might be I think it warrants serious consideration from all concerned.
Some revolutionary thinking – and a few broken eggs – might be just what’s needed to turn two currently flawed events into a golf omelette that could hold its place as one of the best in the game.