The R&A’s long-term support of the Ladies European Tour (LET) has passed £1 million. To recognise the landmark, the LET will be flying an R&A – Working for Golf flag at their events throughout the remainder of the 2010 tournament season.
The R&A’s Chief Executive, Peter Dawson, and Director of Golf Development Duncan Weir presented Tour players, Karen Lunn, Samantha Head and Johanna Mundy, along with LET Executive Director Alexandra Armas, with the flag at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club. It will now travel to over 20 Tour venues before it arrives in Dubai for the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters in December.
“I think it’s very important to be supported by the governing body of golf. Obviously it’s very significant for the Tour and has helped the Tour through some difficult times financially,” said Lunn, who won the Women’s British Open at Woburn in 1993. “The continued support is fantastic for us and it helps to grow the game and promote women’s golf throughout Europe.”
Fellow Tour player Johanna Mundy added: “It’s been a huge support. Any support to ladies golf is great and it’s wonderful that The R&A have looked at the LET as something they want to get behind. We really want to be able to bring ladies and juniors into the game, so to have their support is very good.”
2009 Ricoh Women’s British Open Champion and former R&A Foundation Scholar, Catriona Matthew, also spoke about The R&A’s support while at Royal Birkdale ahead of her title defence there in July.
Matthew said: “It’s important for The R&A to support the LET. The Tour struggled a little for a few years and they stepped in and have helped. It’s important for ladies golf to have a good, strong Ladies European Tour to give the European amateurs something to aim for.”
As part of the continued cooperation between The R&A and the LET, 19-year-old Kelsey MacDonald from Stirling University, the women’s champion at this year’s R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament, which took place over St Andrews’ Castle and Eden courses, will receive a starting place in the Ladies Scottish Open at Archerfield Links in August.
“I was lucky,” Matthew explained. “I went to Stirling University and I think I had one of the first R&A Scholarships which was obviously a great help to me. It let me go away to more amateur events and let me test my game against the best amateurs in the world.”
Since 1994, The R&A has provided funding for the Tour on an annual basis, with the contribution increasing year on year. Alexandra Armas was keen to acknowledge the significance of the grants to the Tour and its players.
“The amount of support we have received over the years is extraordinary, so we are obviously delighted. I think it’s been very important for us not only just in terms of financial stability but in allowing us to grow. To have the backing of The R&A as such a strong institution has given us some credibility, and it has helped cement the position of the women’s game in the world of golf. It’s been very important to us.”
“The LET is doing a good job in these difficult economic times, and Alexandra and her team deserve great credit for putting together such a strong 2010 schedule,” said Peter Dawson. “The R&A has long considered it important to support the Ladies European Tour, and women’s golf in general. I think it is telling that we have reached such a significant milestone.”
By way of further assistance, The R&A will provide referees at many of this year’s 26 scheduled events, which are being held across 21 countries worldwide. Two of the Tour’s Rules Officials were in St Andrews recently to take part in The R&A’s annual Referees School, attended by over 70 delegates from 32 countries, completing their Rules Examination before heading off on Tour.
The 2010 Ladies European Tour got underway on 25 February with the Pegasus New Zealand Women’s Open in Christchurch. The next stop will be Gray Bear Golf Course in Slovakia for the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open on 27 – 30 May.
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