Ladies Golf News 8th Jul, 2022 by ukclubgolfer.co.uk
Ladies European Tour boss Alexandra Armas says the LET is “open to embracing more new and unique approaches
to elite level tournament golf” to keep the tour at the forefront of ladies golf.
Armas, the tour’s CEO, was speaking as the LET kicked off the second phase of its Aramco Team Series, with this year’s LET calendar the most lucrative in its history.
Back in 2017, it was reported the tour was ‘on the brink of collapse’ due to a lack of events and sponsors. But there are now 34 events across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and as far afield as the United States and Australia. According to the tour’s press team, the LET “returned from the pandemic stronger than it went in”.
Last season’s introduction of the Aramco Team Series (ATS) events brought four new $1million prize-fund tournaments to the calendar, taking the Tour to London, Sotogrande in Spain, New York and Jeddah for three-days of team competition intertwined with individual scoring.
Its format brought something entirely new and different to the game. Each ATS event sees up to 36 team captains pick a team-mate, then be assigned a randomly selected third team-mate and an amateur golfer, who plays with a handicap. Together, they then compete over Thursday and Friday as a fourball, with the two lowest scores per hole recorded and the lowest total score winning.
The team events were played for the first time on any professional Tour circuit – with the unique twist that the amateur golfer had the opportunity to sink the putts contributing to the team prize money.
The concept of a combined team and individual tournament came from Armas herself and was backed by Golf Saudi and their sponsor Aramco.
The events return with a revived format (two days of team competition, then a closing day individual-only battle), and, importantly, the opportunity for players to earn further prize money, with a share of another $1million added to the year’s kitty.
“It’s exciting growth,” said Armas, now into her third year as head of the LET. “Coming out of the pandemic we were looking for partners that would not just allow us to push the Tour forward, but also offer a Saudi Aramco: Company General Use strategic commitment to our players. The partnership with Golf Saudi and Aramco has helped us to achieve that.”
Armas added: “In devising the concept for the Aramco Team Series events, we wanted to innovate and do something different.
“The LET is looking at ways of engaging with our fanbase to get them hooked on watching golf more regularly. New creative ideas and different ways of doing things can help with that.”