Ladies European Tour to 'unite' with LPGA

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Meghan MacLaren is the highest-placed British player in this year’s Order of Merit standings

Players are hoping the Ladies European Tour (LET) will benefit after agreeing to ‘unite’ with the LPGA.

The joint venture means golfers could be fast-tracked into more lucrative tournaments in the United States.

LET board chair Marta Figueras-Dotti said the partnership would create chances “we simply could not have pursued on our own”.

It was earlier announced the LET Order of Merit will be renamed the Race to Costa del Sol from 2020.

The new partnership aims to immediately offer LET members more playing opportunities on the LPGA tour, which this season had a total prize fund of about £55m, compared to £12m on the Europe-based tour.

It will seek to expand the LET schedule, which this year included 20 official events in 13 different countries.

Eight of those are in Europe, including two major championships – the Evian Championship and the AIG Women’s British Open.

LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan said: “We have experienced incredible growth in women’s golf in the US, and this is an extraordinary opportunity to accelerate and expand the game in Europe as well.”

‘People are starting to invest in us’

The Race to the Costa del Sol will offer a bonus prize fund of 250,000 euros (£214,000) – the top player on the money list at the end of the year will get an additional £107,000, with £64,000 for the runner-up and £43,000 for third.

The Andalucia Costa del Sol Open, which starts on Thursday, will also have its prize money doubled from next year.

The prize pot for the event in 2020 will be 600,000 euros (£514,000).

Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord leads this year’s Order of Merit standings, with England’s Meghan MacLaren the highest-placed British player in fifth place.

Scotland’s Carly Booth is 10th and told BBC Sport the move was “very positive for the Tour”.

“It’s been a tough couple of years for us, both emotionally and financially, so it seems to be going in a more positive manner now,” the 27-year-old said.

“We have so much potential on this tour and people need to see how good we are. People are starting to invest in us, I’m feeling positive about what is next.”

On Sunday, Spain’s world number three Jon Rahm secured a bonus of $2m (£1.56m) for winning the men’s European Tour’s Race to Dubai.



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