LPGA commissioner Mike Whan will ask players on the Ladies European Tour (LET) to approve a merger between the two organisations next week.
Whan will put the case for a “50-50 joint venture” to players at their annual membership meeting in Spain on November 26.
The LPGA and LET have been working together since September’s Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, where Europe beat the United States by a single point, to agree a deal which will offer LET members more playing opportunities on the far more lucrative LPGA.
"I'm excited how many tournaments are increasing [purses] each year. The reality is these tournaments are doing this on their own."@LPGACommish joined @LisaCornwellGC on @GolfCentral this morning to talk the 2020 LPGA Tour schedule. pic.twitter.com/HztrhIZs9Y— #RaceToCMEGlobe (@LPGA) November 22, 2019
“The LET, no different from the LPGA, is run by its players,” Whan said in quotes reported by the Golf Channel. “So the players will get the final vote on that.
“It’s literally a 50-50 joint venture that we’re proposing. Six members of a board from our side and six members of a board from their side. And all proceeds stay in Europe.”
Whan is proposing a way to help players make their way from the LET to the LPGA, initially via the final stage of the LPGA’s tour school. That could evolve into direct access to the LPGA for the LET’s top money winners.
Hero World Challenge R1
“The way I said it to my board is, if you read the mission of the LPGA, it’s to provide women the opportunity to pursue their dreams in the game of golf, period. That’s the whole statement,” Whan added.
“As I said to our board, I don’t see a boundary or a fence around that statement. It doesn’t say in America, doesn’t say in North America, doesn’t say in countries where you think the opportunity is greatest.
“So I said I think we should do this because we can. We really can. And I think it’s our responsibility. Our founders would have done it if they would have had this ability. So why shouldn’t we?”
The current financial gulf between the LET and LPGA is enormous.
Tournaments on this season’s LPGA had a total prize fund of approximately £55million compared to around £12million on the LET, the majority of which came from two majors and the Ladies Scottish Open in the space of three weeks.