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  • Alistair Tait

A glimmer of light for women’s golf

The Ladies European Tour just can’t seem to get a break. Just when it looked to be getting back on its feet, along comes the coronavirus to knock it for six.

There’s a glimmer of light on the horizon.

All the talk in recent weeks has been about men’s golf – sadly, the talk is usually always about men’s golf – so news that women will soon return to action is to be welcomed.

As The Telegraph reported yesterday, a one-day, behind closed doors tournament will take place at Brokenhurst Manor on June 18th. It’s not an official LET tournament, but LET members will play in the event. Solheim Cup player and 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open champion Georgia Hall is expected to take part. Former Curtis Cup players Meghan MacLaren, Amy Boulden and Gabriella Cowley are also expected to tee it up.

LET professional Liz Young and Brokenhurst Manor head professional Jason McNiven are organising the tournament. Former Curtis Cup player Young, who is attached to Brokenhurst Manor, told The Telegraph:

“It is to find a way to put on a tournament for women’s professionals, so that we can be competitive again and have the chance to earn a little money in these uncertain times and to boost the profile of the women’s game.”
“There was controversy a few weeks ago over the first golf in the US being men’s only. Because golf is a sport that can be played safely now it is key that the women get exposure, too.”

The event currently has no sponsor. (Surely there’s at least one company out there keen to support women’s golf and back this event?) The women will stump up £125 each to create the prize fund. There is also no TV coverage as yet, but Young is ever hopeful. She said:

“I know people would love to watch live sport because there is so little. I would say to the likes of BBC and Sky that this a professional event with some big names, it is going to be good to watch.”
“It would also be an opportunity for people who are new to women’s golf to see just how good our game is. That is why it would be amazing if we could get this on television.”

Agreed. Surely Sky Sports or the BBC has the resources to cover this tournament?

Mind you, women getting little coverage is nothing new. There have been two exhibition matches to raise money for charity in recent weeks. Well-intentioned events they may have been, but surely the TaylorMade Driving Relief Skins Match and The Match could have made room for female competitors?

There’s was no problem of that in Austria when Christine Wolf, Sarah Schober, Bernd Wiesberger and Matthias Schwab teed it up in a charity match that raised €28,000.

Hmmmm, women and men playing together. What a novel idea!

The women’s game was given a huge lift earlier this year with the announcement of the LPGA Tour/LET merger. A new schedule featuring 24 tournaments and record prize money seemed to signal a new beginning for a circuit that had experienced unprecedented disaster over the last few years.

The merger was just what the LET needed after the success of last year’s Solheim Cup. Then came the nightmare that rocked our world.

LET professionals haven't been in action since the Investec South African Women's Open on March 14th. Eight tournaments have fallen off the 2020 LET schedule with the Evian Championship on August the 6th the next tournament on the LET calendar. There are still hopes that the AIG Women’s British Open will be played at Royal Troon August 20-23.

There are obviously serious doubts over both tournaments.

The Brokenhurst Manor event is hardly going to change the world, but hopefully it’s the first small step back for women’s golf, if not in Europe, then at least in the UK. Goodness knows our top women professionals deserve some good news.

Contact Liz Young via Twitter @lizyounggolf if you’re a female professional who would like to enter the Brokenhurst Manor tournament.

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