The future of the Ladies European Tour (LET) has been cast into serious doubt after the latest cancellation of an event from the 2017 calendar.
Having already lost four events from the schedule this year, the latest casualty is the most serious of all—because it is the flagship event, Ladies European Masters. And it all adds up to some serious question over the future of the Tour altogether.
As it stands, 2017 could well be a sparse year of events for the professional ladies playing on the LET, and it all adds up to question marks over the long-term future and sustainability of the women’s game in Europe.
The Buick Championship in Shanghai, the Czech Open, the Turkish Ladies Open, a scheduled event in Italy and now the European Masters in Germany have all been canceled this year.
Players were reportedly informed of the latter in a confidential email from the LET director and player president Helen Alfredsson. Those same reports also allegedly suggest advice has been given not to book travel or accommodation for the Qatar Ladies Open, with that event potentially in doubt due to ongoing political problems.
The LET released a statement surrounding the future of the Tour, saying: “The LET strongly rejects the recent negative speculation in the press about its future. The Tour has made significant investments over the last few years to raise its brand profile and television footprint which has already led to the introduction of a number of new tournaments.
“As with any international organization, the LET is always subject to political and commercial disruption around the world and it deeply regrets that a number of unrelated events have led to tournaments in the first half of this year’s schedule not coming to fruition as planned. We fully understand the frustrations that our members have with the tournament cancellations and are doing everything we can to improve the situation.
“Nonetheless, the remainder of this year’s schedule remains strong and we are looking forward to the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open—our first fully co-sanctioned event with the LPGA Tour—in July, not to mention what promises to be the biggest Solheim Cup in its history in Des Moines, Iowa, the following month.”
But earlier, one player had revealed the alleged content of Alfredsson’s email. It read: “Even though you will all feel sad, disappointed, upset, furious, angry, and I must say rightfully so, but I ask you PLEASE KEEP IT INSIDE THE ROPES!
“It is tough enough, but just all try to be a team at this point and look professional. We won’t gain anything by using social media to vent the frustration, I BEG YOU!”
While the LET struggles to attract sponsors and backers, the LPGA Tour across the other side of the Atlantic is thriving. And it has left players fearing the worst for the future of the game in Europe.
One unnamed player told The Times newspaper: “We do fear the financial collapse of the Tour, especially when you look at the accounts. There are so few events now that earning a living is becoming impossible for many of the players. It is much worse than it used to be.”
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