Australian pro golfer Scott Hend has never been afraid of making his feeling know.
The 49-year-old winner of ten Asian Tour events is a firm believer in the freedom to play wherever a player wants, saying in July that if the LIV tour held qualifying stages, he would unquestionably sign up.
Throwing it out there….. If @LIVGolfInv was to have a Q-school and charged $5k entry fee with the Top 2 guys getting the whole season playing their events….. How many Guys would enter….??$$$$$$$ #golflife #JustSayn #Maaaaaaybe
— Scott Hend (@hendygolf) July 3, 2022
— Scott Hend (@hendygolf) July 3, 2022
Now he has been picked up for comments made surrounding the upcoming Australian Open, and the changes allowing both the men’s and women’s championship to be played on the same course, at the same time.
Hend has returned home to play this week’s Queensland PGA and the following Australian PGA, but has decided against entering the country’s flagship event as he believes the combined event lessens the prestige.
In a tweet posted at the end of October, Hend mentions he has been called a “sexist elitist by some people,” but explains that he simply wants both events to have their “own week.”
Mate I’d love to come Play the Australian Open @GolfAust, yet I’ve been hammered as a sexist elitist by some people for my stance that the Women and Men should have their “Own Week” and not 2 cuts for this prestigious event. That being my stance, I can’t come. #golflife #Brutal https://t.co/gF5k6aTX3k
— Scott Hend (@hendygolf) October 31, 2022
The 2016 Asian Order of Merit winner expanded on his post via Fox Sports:
“My exact words were I believe the Australian Open is such a prestigious event. The women and the men deserve their own week for the event.
It’s nothing about being against women playing golf, it’s nothing about prize-money being exactly the same… it’s just about the event having the history of how long the event (has been going for, that) both men and women should have their own week to shine.”
Hend continued, “That’s all I’ve said, and that’s what I firmly believe in. So that being the case, I haven’t entered to play, I’m not going to try to pre-qualify… because I still believe that both men and women should have their own week to stand out and shine by themselves, not together , when people are going to compare them against each other in the one tournament.”
“That’s not what the Australian Open is all about.”
The women’s event has been won by the likes of the elite players of their time, such as Karrie Webb, Laura Davies, Jiyai Shin, Lydia Ko, Jin-Yung Ko, Nelly Korda and Inbee Park – quite a roll-call!
The men’s list is equally impressive, with winners Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and Cam Davies appearing alongside the name of legends Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and current LIV CEO Greg Norman, winner on five occasions.
It is a huge deal for a home player to not be playing in the event, and whilst Hend has no issues with the mixing of genders in other events, he is sticking firm on this decision.
Asked is he received an invitation, Hend replied, “I didn’t ask, I haven’t entered, I don’t want to be a hypocrite…. I still believe both sexes deserve their own week. Not sure how that isn’t Pro Women’s Golf…..”
As the Australian Open takes place, Hend will play at the Indonesian Masters, part of the Asian Tour he knows so well.
With the recent links between the Asian Tour and their LIV sponsors, the irony of not trying to follow Norman into the Victoria winner’s circle is not lost – particularly after his comments on leaving the DP World Tour behind from 2023.
Continuing his stance of freedom, and the belief that he felt the DP World Tour was “petty and childish” when issuing sanctions against LIV players, he has decided enough is enough.
“I’m done with Europe, I’m done with the politics, I’m done with the lying to players, I’m done with having to ask for a release when I want to go play in other tournaments,” he said .
“For the last 25 years I’ve played where I want, when I want and I haven’t had to ask for permission to go to play another event.”
He continued, “Now… if you want to play in another place, you need to get permission from that tour, otherwise they’re going to sanction you, so if that’s going to be the case, I don’t want to be involved in that anymore.”
“I play golf because I love playing golf. I don’t want to have to get permission every week to go play somewhere else.”
With LIV arriving in Adelaide as part of their revamped 2023 schedule, Hend is keeping one eye on any chance to jump in, hoping to qualify for the cash-rich tour via the Asian Tour.
“I’m 50 in August. People say I’m washed up, I’m done, I’ve got nothing left, but if I can produce what I know I can produce, I can possibly qualify through the Asian Tour”
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