Dissent over Ladies European Tour rattles Women's British Open

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Dissent over Ladies European Tour rattles Women's British Open

LPGA Tour

Dissent over Ladies European Tour rattles Women's British Open

KINGSBARNS, Scotland – Catriona Matthew is calling for a change of leadership. Fellow veteran Laura Davies says the management is working hard.

Welcome to the Ladies European Tour.

The LET should be celebrating the biggest week of its year with the staging of the $3.25 million Ricoh Women’s British Open. Yet there are question marks about the Tour’s future after losing five tournaments this season, and most of its top stars to the LPGA.

The LET made the headlines in June for all the wrong reasons. A report in The Times newspaper claimed the LET was on the brink of collapse. According to the newspaper, the Tour lost nearly £1 million (approximately $1.5 million) in 2014, with assets dropping from £1.05 million to just £72,000 ($94,000) in December 2015.

The LET claims The Times story was “highly inaccurate.” However, Matthew thinks LET chief executive Ivan Khodabakhsh should consider his position.

“I think the product’s there,” 2009 champion Matthew said. “They have got a lot of good players. It’s just perhaps they have the wrong person at the head. Hopefully if they can get that resolved, it can start building itself up again.”

Davies is never backward about coming forward on any issue. If she thought change was needed then she would say so. She didn’t. She backed Khodabakhsh and his team to the hilt.

“We need people to step up with the money to back us,” Davies said. “We’re getting more TV now, which I thought was going to help, which is what Ivan did really well or has done really well. But we’re not seeing the results from it. 

“I know why we’re not playing in Turkey and other tournaments we’ve lost because of various nongolfing reasons. I just think we’re very unlucky. I really do. I think everyone at the Tour is working so hard and they are just getting hammered left right and center. In a way, there’s not a lot they can do about it.”

Davies divides her time between the LPGA and LET, while Matthew plays exclusively on the LPGA. The only LET events she contends are those co-sanctioned with the LPGA, this week’s British Open, last week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and the Evian Championship. Ditto for English star Charley Hull.

You can’t blame them. This year’s LPGA schedule consists of 34 events worth $67.35 with a minimum purse of $1.2 million. The LET has 21 events totalling just over $15.5 million, with the Scottish, British and Evian Championships making up $8.4 million of that. Three events carry prize funds of just under $270,000.

It’s why Matthew has made a life for herself outside Europe. “I’ve played basically my whole career on the LPGA,” Matthew said.

One thing’s for sure, the LET needs more big weeks like this one on its schedule to attract the Laura Davies and Catriona Matthews of the future.

No matter who is in charge.

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