Annika Sorenstam is partnering Henrik Stenson to make a new mixed event. So why did she feel the need to step in?
Including majors and the Solheim Cup, just nine LET tournaments were played on European soil in 2019. One of those was the Annika Sorenstam-hosted La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational.
In recent years, and particularly more so this season, initiatives have been introduced in terms of varying the formats of tour events.
One of the most significant and seemingly effective formats involves mixing male and female tours.
Many players within the women’s game would love to see the introduction of more mixed events and it appears they are having their wishes granted.
The Jordan Mixed Open was a huge success and the World Invitational was a nice addition. But now there is an even bigger step forward which comes in the form of the Scandinavian Mixed in 2020, where Sorenstam will team up with Henrik Stenson to bring the men and ladies’ European Tours together.
Sorenstam said: “They are trying different format to create awareness, excitement and interest. It’s not a secret that it’s been struggling for quite some time and I think they are looking for different ways to make it exciting.
“I’m a big believer that playing with the men is a good thing for the game, but is that the way for the LET to move forward? We will have to see if that’s helpful.
“It’s more of a global tour now but as far as these different initiatives go, I think only time will tell if it’s increasing awareness and exposure for the women.”
Like many of us Sorenstam cannot quite understand why the LET is experiencing such hard times and is struggling to ultimately gain sponsorships to put on events.
“It’s puzzling, I don’t know why the European Tour is struggling so much with the amount of amazing talent that comes from the tour. I wish there was a way to capitalise on that momentum and build the LET up again, that’s partly why I got involved with Spain.
“I want to support the tournaments that they have and this new event that they asked me to be a part of.”
There can be no doubting that those behind the LET are doing everything they can to help the tour succeed and grow but, ultimately, events cost money and that appears to be where a large problem lies.
If sponsors are not willing to back a tournament then it cannot go ahead, it’s simple. But what can the tour do to get investors on board and who should be responsible for ensuring there are many competitions across Europe?
“It’s not just the tour, the responsibility also lies with each country. I think every country should have at least one tournament to support women’s golf and it makes me mad that they don’t.
“You can’t expect to have a European Tour if each country doesn’t pull their weight. The federations have a responsibility and they should secure sponsorships so that they can stage events to give the girls the opportunity to play.”