Some two years after the LPGA strongly considered purchasing the Ladies European Tour and were initially rebuffed, it appears the two sides are again talking about an American takeover of the Euro circuit.
The Guardian reports the LPGA and Ladies European Tour principles met at the Solheim Cup in September in Scotland for early discussions on a potential takeover. The European Tour, which has partnered with the Ladies European Tour on several concurrent and mixed-gender events, could also be an interested party in making this whole thing work.
As was thought of in late 2016 and again in 2017, the LPGA would be interested in positioning the Ladies European Tour as a developmental tour that would be a feeder to the LPGA Tour, similar to how the Symetra Tour works in the United States. The total prize money for the Symetra Tour and Ladies European Tour is similar, though the LET does have fewer events with slightly more money available on average per tournament. The LET schedule features glaring periods without tournaments, and continental Europe is featured too rarely on the overall schedule.
In 2017, Whan said he would maintain the LET model and pursue more events.
“If the LET asked me to help, and nobody from the LET has, I’d create a 20-tournament schedule, 17 of which would be played in Europe, and we would play for $250,000 to $300,000 [per event],” Whan said. “I wouldn’t go after $1 million sponsors.”
The discussions got going in earnest with the acknowledgement Ladies European Tour CEO Mark Lichtenhein would be leaving the tour after the Solheim Cup. He since left the tour on Sept. 30, and Alexandra Armas took over as interim CEO on Oct. 1. It was prior CEO Ivan Khodabakhsh who balked at the LPGA's initial offer.
It's unclear what a potential timeline for a takeover would look like and if it could be resolved before the start of the 2020 seasons on the LPGA and Ladies European Tour.