ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Two of the most respected veterans in European women’s golf are divided over who is to blame for the Ladies European Tour’s woeful state.
Scotland’s Catriona Matthew believes LET chief executive officer Ivan Khodabakhsh may have to go.
Laura Davies supports him.
“I don't really play much in Europe, but they have obviously been having their issues with the commissioner,” Matthew said. “I think we need to try and get that sorted and see what direction they are going to go.
“I think the product's there. They have got a lot of good players. It's just perhaps they have had the wrong person at the head. So, hopefully, if they can get that resolved, it can start building itself up again.”
Davies said corporate Europe is more to blame.
“In Europe, for some reason, the corporate world isn't that interested in us, at the moment,” Davies said. “Hopefully that will change.”
Khodabakhsh wasn’t available for comment.
The LET schedule features just 17 events this year, down nine events from six years ago.
The LET’s total prize money for this year is roughly $15 million, according to purses listed on the LET schedule.
The LPGA is playing for a total of $67 million in 34 events.
Five LET events have been canceled this year. Last week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open was just the sixth LET event staged this year, outside the majors.
“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 has done really well. But we're not seeing the results from it.
“I'm just a golfer. I don't know why. I just think we're very unlucky. I think everyone at the tour is working so hard, and they are just getting hammered left right and center, and in a way there's not a lot they can do about it. I know for one thing they are working really hard.”
At the end of last year, the Global Golf Post quoted LPGA commissioner Mike Whan saying he was intrigued by finding a way to merge the LET with LPGA, with the LET becoming a satellite circuit feeding pros into the LPGA, much like the Symetra Tour.
A week later, Whan explained he wasn’t making a move on the LET, just thinking aloud about the partnership.
“My vision is not to acquire the LET,” he said then. “We’ve got a good partnership.”