Is the LPGA interested in acquiring the Ladies European Tour as another development circuit under the LPGA’s umbrella?
LPGA comissioner Mike Whan told the Global Golf Post that the possibility intrigues him.
Whan believes the LET would be a strong complement to the Symetra Tour, as a developmental tool feeding the LPGA.
“If the LET asked me to help, and nobody from the LET has, I’d create a 20-tournament schedule, 17 of which would be played in Europe, and we would play for $250,000 to $300,000 [per event],” Whan said. “I wouldn’t go after $1 million sponsors.”
Whan said he would like to see the LET set up similarly to the Symetra Tour, where the top five or 10 money winners at season’s end advance to the LPGA, with other players advancing to the LPGA’s new qualifying series, which will replace Q-School beginning in 2017 or 2018.
“Now I’m not sure if I’m an LET player that I would like to hear Mike Whan say that he’d have us playing for $250,000 to $300,000 per tournament,” Whan said. “That doesn’t sound lucrative. But it is sustainable. And it allows a girl who grew up in Denmark to stay home and play her way onto the LPGA rather than leaving home at age 17 or 18.”
The LET has 20 events on its schedule this year, with some of its events co-sanctioned by the LPGA and Australian Ladies Professional Golf. The co-sanctioned Evian Championship ($3,250,000) and Ricoh Women’s Open ($3,000,000) are the LET’s largest purses. LET events that aren’t co-sanctioned feature purses that range from $268,000 to $800,000, with most somewhere in between.