When the West Coast Ladies Golf Tour ceased operations, officials from the NGA/Hooters Tour and Grey Goose Gateway Tour quickly jumped to see if they could lend a helping hand. Both tours were willing to sweep in and immediately continue the existing WCLGT schedule.
Thanks, but no thanks, was the message the two tours received.
Hooters Tour and Gateway Tour officials say the most crucial issue for WCLGT owner Mark Canevari was the concept of guaranteed money in each tournament purse.
The Hooters Tour wanted to collect a $1,000 entry fee for each event, take 85 percent to distribute for the purse and take the remaining 15 percent to cover operations – golf course costs, rules officials, etc. That deal was not good enough and Canevari was expecting more.
“We went out there trying to help but (Canevari) had other ideas than what we wanted to do,” said NGA/Hooters Tour president Robin L. Waters. “We weren’t in it for the money side; we wanted to break even and give them a place to play for the rest of the year. We were informed that if we couldn’t guarantee a $100,000 purse they weren’t interested.”
The Gateway Tour did not discuss specific numbers with Canevari, but said they were also told that if they couldn’t guarantee a purse each week no deal would be struck.
“We had a brief conversation, that’s it,” said Chris Stutts, executive director of the Gateway Tour. “We’re interested in trying to help the girls but it’s not going to work out. We don’t have the kind of money he was looking for to bail out his business.”
Although Canevari did not return phone calls to Golfweek, a note posted on the WCLGT’s web site (www.wclgt.com) says: “Two men’s tours, Grey Goose Gateway Tour and NGA/Hooters Tour, were interested in creating a ladies tour and had opened up a dialog with WCLGT. Neither tour was willing to honor the player entry fees or the WCLGT format. Without a commitment to the players and to the WCLGT, an agreement could not be made. . . . Until other sponsorship can be secured, the remainder of the 2005 WCLGT schedule in the U.S. has been postponed.”
The Hooters Tour and Gateway Tour acknowledged that they have considered starting a women’s West Coast developmental tour of their own, but both say they are in early planning phases. (The Hooters Tour recently announced it will run a women’s developmental circuit in Central Florida this fall.)