- Ladies European Tour
The Ladies European Tour is a professional
golftour for women which was founded in 1979. It is based in England. Like many UK-based sports organisations it is a company limited by guarantee, a legal structure which enables it to focus on maximising returns to its members through prize money, rather than on making profits for investors. The tour is run by a Board of Directors and a Players' Council. Most of the players on the tour are European, and the largest non-European contingent by far comes from Australia.
The U.S. based
LPGAwas founded in 1950, but women's professional golf was slower to get established in Europe. In 1978 the Women's Professional Golf Association (WPGA) was formed as part of Professional Golfers' Association of Great Britain and Ireland and a tour was established the following year. In 1988 the tour members decided to form an independent company, the Women Professional Golfers' European Tour Limited. This new company moved away from the PGA's headquarters at The Belfryand set up its own headquarters at the Tytherington Club in Cheshire. In 1998 the Tour changed its name to European Ladies' Professional Golf Association Limited and again in July 2000 to its current name, Ladies European Tour Limited. During 2008 the tour will be relocating to offices at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club, which is just outside London. [http://www.ladieseuropeantour.com/content/let_content_news.php?Id=11832]
Getting a women's tour established in Europe was not easy. Whereas men's tour golf in Europe developed in parallel with that in the United States, the women's tour had to compete against a well established rival in the U.S.
LPGA Tourfrom its foundation. In 2005 the tour dismissed its fifth chief executive in eight years as it continued to find it very difficult to compete effectively against the LPGA Tour for players and media attention, even in its home continent. However it then entered a period of growth, adding six new events in 2006 and 2007. A record 26 official money events are scheduled for the 2008 season, which will also see the introduction of a new team competition called the European Ladies' Golf Cup. Also, for the first time in several years, the LET scheduled an event opposite one of the LPGA's majors, with the ABN AMRO Open held opposite the LPGA Championship.
There are 28 events that count towards the 2008 Order of Merit, up from 24 in 2007. The two richest events by far are the
Evian Mastersand the Women's British Open, which are co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and have prize funds of over €2.5 million and over €1.5 million respectively. The other events consist of five with prize funds of approximately €500,000, and seventeen with prize funds of between €165,000 and €400,000. The five half million euro events are in Australia (co-sanctioned with the ALPG Tour), Switzerland, Sweden, Wales and Dubai. Total prize money in 2008 Order of Merit events exceeds €11 million.
Unlike in men's golf, the European and American tours do not share a common set of majors, although the
Women's British Openis co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and the LPGA Championshipis recognised as a major by both organisations. The only other event on the Ladies European Tour with "major" status is the Evian Masters, which is played in France. The Evian Masters is not recognised as a major by the LPGA, but the LPGA co-sanctions the event as part of its regular schedule. The significance of this is limited as the LPGA Tour is so dominant in global women's golf that "women's majors" usually refers to the LPGA majors, even in Europe.
The table below shows the 2008 schedule. The numbers in brackets after the winners' names show the number of career wins they had on the Ladies European Tour up to and including that event. This is only shown for members of the tour.
Notes and references
Women's World Golf Rankings
Professional golf tours
* [http://www.ladieseuropeantour.com/ Official site of the Ladies European Tour]
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