Inaugural Asian Mixed Cup tees off in Thailand
Golf's inaugural Asian Mixed Cup begins in Thailand this week with a host of international male and female hotshots on the same scorecard.
The pioneering event has a purse of $750,000 and kicks off Thursday at Waterside Course at Siam Country Club in Pattaya.
Golfing action will wrap up Sunday and features 60 Ladies European Tour (LET) and 60 Asian Tour golfers.
The line-up includes the Asian Tour number one, American Sihwan Kim, as well as past LET merit list winner Becky Brewerton of Wales.
Ahead of tee-off, Kim said he was focused on keeping on the fairway and staying hydrated.
"I don't know how long this cool Pattaya weather will last but in Southeast Asian countries just keeping hydrated and getting some fuel and nutrition into you is very important," he said.
Asian Tour chief executive Cho Minn Thant expressed his confidence ahead of the tournament, adding the two mixed games "could well be the catalyst for more events of this type".
Fans will be keeping an eye out for Asian Tour Order of Merit champion South Korean Kim Joo-Hyung.
LET champion Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa is also one to watch after a recent nail-biting win at the Investec South African Women's Open.
Host Thailand will be resting its hopes on Nitithorn Thippong -- fresh from victory at the Asian Tour's DGC Open last month -- as well as rising star Jazz Janewattananond.
The mixed tournament comes amid increasing discussion within sports communities across the world about gender and inclusion.
Women golfers will play from different tees but otherwise level terms.
"Golf is one of the very few sports where men and women can compete alongside each other in the same competition, on the same course, unlike tennis or football," Cho said.
The tournament is also an opportunity for up-and-coming competitors to make their mark on an international stage.
As well as the significant prize money, players will also be competing for LET Race to Costa del Sol and Asian Tour Order of Merit points -- offering a coveted path to membership of the international groups.
Golf enthusiasts are set to enjoy a back-to-back schedule of events with the Asian Mixed Stableford Challenge due to tee off under similar rules the following week.
It will be hosted at Siam Country Club from April 13 to 16 with an identical kitty up for grabs.