The two major women's tours in professional golf, the American LPGA and the European LET, are one vote away from merging. It was announced by the commissioner of the former, Molly Marcoux Samaan, during her usual season closing press conference prior to the CME Group Tour Championship.
The agreement, which would entail progressive integration, would be a very significant change in the panorama, a month and a half before the deadline given by their male counterparts and the LIV to close their own negotiation on a future collaboration to end the schism.
open with the appearance of the Saudi Super League in 2021.
The voting of the LET players will take place next Tuesday, before the Spanish Open, which is also the annual final of the tour. The board, whose proposal requires 60% approval among affiliates, has recommended that they opt for 'yes'
What they would be approving, in the event of a favorable result, would be a gradual process, with a first phase of three years. In it, according to a memo sent to the players whose content Golf Digest reveals, nothing much would change.
They would remain separate entities, with their own image and calendars, but the LPGA would oversee the management of the LET and both would explore new business opportunities together. All assets of the European circuit and its intellectual property would be transferred to an entity created in 2019, when the two organizations began to collaborate through a 'strategic alliance', called Ladies European Golf Venture Limited (LEGV) and operated by the LPGA.
In exchange for this, the LPGA would contribute 1.25 million dollars annually (1.14 euros) to invest in the prize pools of its tournaments, improvements in television production, support services for players... And the LET would continue to have control over its own funds.
The idea is that the latter can sustain calendars of at least 30 tournaments per season (this year there have been 29 counting its own and co-sanctioned tournaments), with purses of at least 300,000 euros, which would be designed by the tour itself but subject to the approval of the LPGA.
In order not to create a sense of governance of the big brother over the little one, the LPGA undertakes to enrich its board with people from the LET, and to form a committee to oversee the affairs of the European structure made up of members from both circuits.
The Solheim would be the jurisdiction of that committee, which would be in charge of the selection process and the granting of venues, and the benefits of the editions held in Europe would be invested in the European ecosystem.
The truth is that the four years of collaboration since the aforementioned 'strategic alliance' have been prosperous for a LET that before that did not have its future guaranteed in the short term. Since then, the tournament schedule has almost doubled (from less than 20 to almost 30) and the total prize pool has tripled: from 12.5 million euros to more than 35.
Now the ball is in the court of his players, from whom Marcoux Samaan expects a 'yes' for an agreement that, he considers, “makes sense for all parties”. “If they reject it, we will work with the LET leadership to decide our next steps,” he said.