The Evian Championship, the fourth women's Major of the season, kicks off on Thursday. But it is also the first that, in Evian-les-Bains, on French soil, provides that the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour will co-sanction: a common trait, this, only with the Women's British Open, given that the major American tournaments appear only on the calendar of the circuit across the ocean.
Evian Championship, statements
In truth, it must be said that the LPGA Tour inaugurates with this event a series of four that maintain this real dual nature. Logically there are many continentals who want to impose themselves, although Brooke Henderson made it a year ago: the Canadian had managed in this way to obtain the second Major in her career six years after her first.
The period, however, is not entirely the best for her. And so other prominent figures can emerge, including Nelly Korda who has just landed in Europe with success in London. But, overseas, in a strange reversal of roles, so much is being said (and rightly so) about the Swedish Linn Grant.
There are also the usual ones to keep an eye on, from Jin Young Ko down, but the States are also waiting in particular for Rose Zhang. And then France always has its valid card to play: Celine Boutier. Naturally, it will be easy to be proven wrong: this has literally been the year of surprises, with completely unexpected names capable of taking home the first three major events.
So it is reasonable to expect everything here. Women's golf in Europe only depopulated some time after the creation of the LPGA in the United States of America. In 1978, the Women's Professional Golfers' Association (or simply WPGA) was founded, underpinning the largest operating Professional Golfers' Association in the United Kingdom.
The following year a tour was established with Carlsberg as the main sponsor and including 12 tournaments (36 holes), including the Women's British Open. For his first two seasons the Tour fields were rated for 36 strokes, later increased to 54; the prize money also underwent an increase, going from the initial 80,000 pounds to 250,000 in 1981, at the cost, however, of the loss of important tournaments and sponsorships.
At the end of the 1981 season the collaboration with Carlsberg ended, and despite an initial optimism, the Ladies European Tour experienced a period of crisis which culminated in the cancellation of further stages. In the second part of the eighties the circuit found itself with only 10 tournaments left and its future was called into question.