Olympian Scott Hend denies he’s a “sexist elitist”, but refuses to budge on his decision to skip next month’s historic dual-gender Australian Open because of the new format.
Hend has returned home for the first time since 2019 to play in this week’s Queensland PGA at Nudgee and next week’s Australian PGA at Royal Queensland.
However, the 49-year-old Queenslander, who represented Australia at the Rio Olympics in 2016, won’t stay for the following week’s Australian Open at the Victoria and Kingston Heath clubs because he believes men and women should not be playing together in that event.
It will be the first national open in which women will play alongside men. Equal prizemoney of $1.7 million will be on offer, as well separate trophies for the male and female players.
“I’ve already been called a ‘sexist elitist’, which I’m not,” Hend said.
“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 prizemoney 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.
“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.”
During the week of the Australian Open, the well-travelled Hend will compete in the Asian Tour’s Indonesian Masters.
After several seasons on the European Tour, now known as the DP World Tour, United States-based Hend will next year contest the Asian Tour, on which he has won 10 times.
“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.
“Now … if you want to playing 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.”
Hend hopes “somewhere else” could be Greg Norman’s lucrative LIV Tour, which next year will include an event in Adelaide in April.
“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 (for the LIV events) through the Asian Tour,” he said.
“If I had the opportunity to go to play (on the LIV Tour), sure I’d be there. I’d have no hesitation about it.”