With a proposed buy-out by the LPGA Tour on the table, LET player Lydia Hall explains what needs to happen to benefit all parties
In the next few weeks the future of the LET will be a lot clearer when the players sit down at their annual meeting on November 26 in Spain to hear about how a proposed partnership with the LPGA Tour might play out.
The suspicion is always that the players know what’s happening but the reality is that they pretty much know as much, or as little, as the rest of us.
Lydia Hall, who has been a member of the LET for the past 12 seasons, explains: “We know very little, there have been rumours from before when there were discussions when there were four parties involved (the European Tour and R&A were also previously involved) but things were never clear as the LET signed an agreement that they weren’t allowed to discuss it.
“Now there are girls who play on the Symetra and LPGA and they are told things and then discuss those things with our players so there are lots of rumours.
“As players we’ve been informed that there are serious discussions going on but not to disband the LET but more to work together to grow it and the women’s game in general.”
One obvious way forward and a huge carrot is for LPGA cards to be made available for those at the top of the European money list.
“Everyone is excited to see what the future holds,” Hall adds. “I have no idea whether the top five or however many will get their LPGA card or players will get through to the final stage of Q School will make the girls play for something more.
“Lots of our members want to be the best and have that playing opportunity which we don’t have week in, week out.
“If the LPGA is going to grow some of our biggest events and cap our prize funds or restrict what we can enter as LET players then we’re not going to be happy, if their idea is to grow the LET and our events and then top 30 or 50 players are entitled to have spots in their bigger prize-funded events then that would be good. It all depends on the deal.”
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The former British Masters winner, though, sees all of this as just the start of a bigger picture.
“I think in five to 10 years we will see a world tour, just like it is in tennis – but that’s just my opinion,” Hall continues.
“That might not be a bad thing as there are so many young LET players who deserve to be able to showcase their talent but who are now playing for less money and in fewer tournaments. Just to play in the LPGA Q School costs 10 grand.
“But none of this is going to happen straightaway and it’s not like we’re going to have 35 events in 2021. There’s a lot at stake, you’re talking of women’s careers so you can’t just shut down the LET and let the LPGA take it over and start from scratch. The LET want to look out for their players and the main reason the first offer was turned down was that it probably wasn’t the best option for the LET players.
“But we know as much as anyone else, the discussions are open and the press release has been sent out but that’s all we know.”