EDINBURGH: Men and women will compete together in this year’s inaugural European Golf Team Championships after their respective tours announced on Thursday that they had agreed on a format and qualification process. The Aug. 8-12 event at Gleneagles, Scotland, will involve an equal gender split among participants and offer equal prize money for men and women in the matchplay championship as well as the 18-hole foursomes team play championship. Players will represent their countries and can qualify through the European Golf Team Championships points tables, which are based on official world ranking points earned from events in the last 12 months up to July.“There is a need for golf to embrace new formats and engage a wider audience,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said in a statement. “Following our recent announcement about the inclusion of female players in the revolutionary GolfSixes tournament, the European Championships presents another innovative opportunity to break new ground on a number of fronts,” he added. A total of 16 teams with two players each will compete in the matchplay championship. In the foursomes, they will combine to form teams of four with two men and two women. Ladies European Tour chairman Mark Lichtenhein said that there was a “tremendous public appetite” to see men and women compete together. “The format is terrific and the fact that the event will be shown throughout Europe via free-to-air television presents an unprecedented opportunity to bring new fans,” he added. The event will also be a part of the multi-sport European Championships this year.Published in Daily Times, March 9th 2018.