Australia's Vic Open should be a 'blueprint' for the professional game

Amateur winners Yae Eun Hong of South Korea (left) and Blake Windred of Australia pose with professional winners Celine Boutier of France and David Law of Scotland
France's Celine Boutier (second left) won the LPGA's Vic Open on Sunday while Scotland's David Law (second right) took the men's title

David Law planned marking his maiden European Tour win with a dozen or so pints, Celine Boutier preferred to toast her success with champagne.

Golf, meanwhile, should celebrate that both players were sitting at the same news conference table to discuss their victory plans.

The Scotsman and the Frenchwoman were simultaneous champions at the Vic Open, a joint event of ever growing significance. This Australian tournament offers easily the most constructive blueprint for professional golf's future.

Feedback from a week that reached a fitting finale, with Law securing his triumph in the men's event thanks to a brilliant eagle at the 72nd hole, has been overwhelmingly positive.

Irishman Paul Dunne, the 2017 winner of the British Masters, described it as "a groundbreaking event".

The state sponsored tournament played over two courses at Barwon Heads near Geelong in Victoria had 156 male competitors and 156 female golfers sharing alternate tee times for the first two days.

As former US Open winner Geoff Ogilvy commented, "it makes sense". The Australian added: "They are ticking every box and the field is getting better every year because of that."

There were no ropes holding back spectators, who are encouraged to walk behind groups and enjoy the perspective of watching down the line of shots rather than from the side.

"Love having the no ropes and the crowd out on the course with me, golf in Ozzie rules!!" tweeted Andrew "Beef" Johnston.

Former European Tour player turned course designer, commentator and writer, Michael Clayton, believes the feel-good factor will become contagious.

"Word will spread how much fun the players have and how good the courses are and that it is much more than the regular week-to-week diet of tour golf," he stated. "The Europeans who ventured to Saudi Arabia the previous week surely couldn't have found two more contrasting experiences."

There was the odd gripe, a feeling that the women's tees were a little too close to the men's thereby making the set-up more penal for the female competition.

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Law won at 18 under par while Boutier, who edged out England's Charlotte Thomas, was ten strokes worse. But those who use this as evidence of women's golf being inferior, completely miss the point.

They are comparing apples and oranges. What is important is the intensity of competition. That's why we watch and both genders are capable of delivering that in spade loads across all sport.

The women's finalists at the recent Australian Open tennis do not hit the ball as hard as their male counterparts. But Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova served up a more exciting spectacle than Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the men's final.

Golf is also a sport where men and women can successfully share the same stage and it should be one of the game's biggest selling points.

That's why it was a big pity that only four of the top 50 in the women's world rankings turned up for the LPGA backed event. Those absentees from the only professional golf Open offering equal prize money let down their fellow players, especially the Ladies European Tour members who had been biffed from the event after the big sister tour took over this year.

Yes the US$1.5m prize funds for each tournament is not the biggest purse but the principle is massive for the women's game. Golf's gender pay gap is a disgrace and the women desperately need the spotlight.

It was such a missed opportunity by so many of the leading players. But British Open champion Georgia Hall was there and the Dorset star sees plenty of potential for the format.

"This could be a massive step towards more tournaments like this," she said. "Hopefully one in the US and one in Europe."

Finding ways to harness such spirit would not be easy; the golfing calendar is a logistical nightmare at the best of times. But it should be an absolute priority if the game wants to acquire a more enlightened image.

The R and A's Women in Golf Charter seeks to make all golfers aware that this is a sport for all and the professional tours should be seeking ways to collaborate to reinforce the point.

Size of fields is an instant issue, how many venues could cope with so many players?

But might this be a vehicle to re-energise the men's World Golf Championships events? These WGC's, this year in Mexico, Austin, Memphis and Shanghai, have much smaller numbers than regular tour stops.

They are also losing their identity. The PGA and European Tours are more interested in promoting their own products - The Players Championship, FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai rather than the more nebulous WGC's.

So why not have them rebranded and restructured in the way of the Vic Open? Imagine watching two tournaments simultaneously coming to their climax involving the best men's and women's players in the world.

How big would be the benefit for the relatively impoverished women's game? It would surely be attractive to big progressive business backers and how modern and forward thinking would golf look then?

Although this might be nothing more than an idealistic pipe dream, important steps in this direction were taken Australia last week.

We should drink to that, but perhaps not yet to the planned excess of Law and Boutier.

Download the latest edition of BBC Sport's The Cut podcast with Iain Carter and Andrew Cotter on Tuesday afternoon.