The IX: Golf Thursday with Carly Grenfell, October 17, 2019
LPGA, LET Partnership — Interview with Helen Alfredsson— Must-click links in women's golf
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The LPGA and LET Partnership
The news on the partnership between the LPGA and LET (Ladies European Tour) is definitely something to keep an eye on over the coming months. The LPGA has actually considered buying the LET before, and these conversations are resurfacing again now. Although there aren’t a ton of specifics out there yet, the dialogue is ongoing about a 50-50 joint venture between the two associations. Board Chair Marta Figueras-Dotti provided the below in her official statement.
“This summer, the LPGA and LET began discussions about a true partnership, where we would work together to build stronger tour schedules, create more financial stability, and deliver a Ladies European Tour that could offer its members significantly more opportunities to compete, earn an income and advance their professional career.”
Apparently, these conversations started at the Solheim Cup. The struggle has been real for the LET over the last few years specifically, while the LPGA is doing really well and continues to trend up under Mike Whan’s direction. So this is absolutely awesome news and I’m pumped to see how the partnership unfolds. If you look at the relationship and dynamic between the European Tour and the PGA TOUR, it’s undoubtedly going to be a good thing if the LPGA and LET can get to that level. There’s really limited opportunity on the LET in its current state.
Two years ago, the LET parted ways with its CEO, Ivan Khodabakhsh, who had no previous golf experience. Seven different tournaments collapsed under his reign. Here’s the perfect stat (via Golf Channel) to get a better idea of why the LET needs help. In 2018, the LPGA put on 33 events for $66 million in total prize money. In 2018, the LET had 15 tournaments with $14 million in total prize money. Its two most lucrative events were the British Open and Evian Championship, which are 1) Majors and 2) co-sanctioned with the LPGA.
I think we will witness a massive turning point for the LET over next five years if this partnership comes to fruition. We all know there is loads of talent in the United States and on the LPGA Tour, but there’s also a ton of talent on the LET. The difference is that players on the LET aren’t being exposed to the same level of competition and golf courses and prize money as they do on the LPGA. We know the LPGA is an absolute grind, but the LET is even more so. These things make a difference when it comes to molding these players, developing a deeper pool of talent and ultimately setting them up for success on the LPGA.
A couple years ago, the partnership (that never fully came together) was positioned as the LET being a feeder onto the LPGA, similar to the Symetra Tour. The prize money is similar on both tours but there needs to be more events and more money for it to really get anywhere. With yet another leadership change for the LET—CEO Mark Lichtenhein left the tour on Sept. 30 and Alexandra Armas is now in the interim seat—hopefully these conversations gain some momentum and whoever is the next CEO is on board with shaking things up.
If the LET has the LPGA’s support, I just don’t understand why they wouldn’t want to move forward with some sort of 50-50 deal. Obviously what they’ve done the last five years isn’t working and it very well may be a case of needing more stability. Mike Whan is a guy you want in your corner and I am pretty positive he would be a huge asset in turning things around for the LET.
This Week in Women’s Golf
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My podcast is alive again! Check out the latest episode of Fairway Tales.
Oh no! This golfer was assessed 42 penalty strokes at the Senior LPGA Championship.
Brittany Altomare got a hole-in-one, and she won a car for it!
Danielle Kang’s boyfriend had a career round after the advice she gave him.
A star at 19, Julieta Granada is headed back to Q-school at 32.
Helen Alfredsson wins the 2019 Senior LPGA Championship.
Here’s a look at some of the college golf stars playing in Q-school.
A true partnership could be on the horizon between the LPGA and LET.
A look at the leaderboard in Shanghai this weekend, which tee’d off today.
17-year-old Lucy Li is off to a strong start in pursuit of her LPGA dreams.
LPGA rookie Cheyenne Knight’s definitely changed in a hurry.
Wow, amazing story about this European golfer coming back from cervical cancer.
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: Helen Alfredsson
The big event of the week was the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick (Ind.) Resort’s Pete Dye Course, where Helen Alfredsson walked away the 2019 Champion in gusty, chilly conditions. Not only that, but this win followed her U.S. Senior Women’s Open victory just four months ago! Ron Sirak and Golf Channel got to the chance to talk to Alfredsson after her final round yesterday afternoon, Oct. 16.
Q: It seemed like you saved your best for last. Why don’t you feel that way?
A: You just don’t feel like you’re hitting your shot the best in these conditions. Everything is such a struggle; nothing is smooth. You just need to get away with stuff and hit the greens. But I just didn’t feel like I was hitting it that great. When I needed to, I hit some good shots coming in.
Q: How did you manage to shoot under par in these conditions?
A: I don’t really know. As all the sports psychologists say, you just have to take it one shot at a time and that’s even more crucial on a day like today. I really stayed out the trouble areas that you can find here quite easily and that’s what I was trying to do all day. It wasn’t always pretty, but hopefully it was quite efficient.
Q: Did your time in between playing the U.S. Senior Women’s Open and here prepare you for this?
A: My last round before I came here was Bethpage Black and that was a difficult golf course. You feel like you’re never going to get out of there alive! But it was great. This is not an easy test either with wind like this and so many difficult areas where the ball falls off, you have to be very specific with where you hit your irons and where you hit off the tee. I tried to play from the men’s tees and when I practiced I really tried to focus to keep my game in at least somewhat decent shape.
Q: Does the competitive fire still burn as much as ever?
When you’re out here, something happens. I don’t really have it maybe at home as much but when I compete, yeah, I always try to do my best. I still try to practice with perfection and being focused because I don’t want to be one of those pros where people go “oh, is she a pro, that’s kind of sad.” So either you practice well when you practice or you don’t so maybe that helps. I play with the boys and I play from the back tees. So it helps.
Q: Does this win make you want more?
A: No, you know what, I enjoy this. I would never want to do the traveling bit and I love seeing all the girls out here. I’m so grateful and so grateful for these senior events. We all get together and have an awesome time. Some things happen and the competitive juice starts pumping. It’s a very fun time and no, I don’t feel the need for anything more.