EXCLUSIVE

Pro hears LET's future could be feeder tour to LPGA

Letlpga

Mel Reid has heard the Ladies European Tour may soon become a feeder tour for the LPGA Tour – and doesn’t think that would be a bad thing.

Five events have been cancelled on the LET so far this season, including the Ladies European Masters with a prize fund of €500,000, prompting the LET to issue a statement ‘strongly rejecting’ a report in The Times which suggested it was on the brink of collapse.

Seven months into the year, this week’s Ladies Scottish Open is only the fifth on the LET calendar this season – the co-sanctioned event is the 21st on the LPGA Tour – and Reid, like the player who spoke anonymously to The Times, has concerns for the tour’s future and says something needs to happen.

“I think there are talks with the LPGA and I don’t think it would necessarily be a bad move to be a feeder tour into there,” Reid told bunkered.co.uk. "I feel like it’s a lot stronger tour than the Symetra Tour and I feel like the LPGA Tour needs more Europeans on it. 

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Mel Reid

“The LPGA love the LET. The staff have worked extremely hard and I don’t know what the situation is with our commission at the minute but something drastic needs to happen because otherwise we’re not going to have a tour here in a couple of years.”

Reid battled illness to earn her LPGA Tour card for the 2017 season, describing that moment as ‘career-defining’ given what has happened since.

“It was huge because there are no events in Europe,” she said. “It was a big turning point in my career. I think if I didn’t do that I would’ve seriously considered another avenue, I guess. I might have played the Symetra Tour for a year but to try and make money there is difficult.

“It’s a shame the way the LET is going because players and staff have worked extremely hard to make it work. The way that it is at the minute, it’s a very sad situation and hopefully it’s not too far gone that it can’t be pulled back. 

Mel Reid

“I think it’s going to take a long time to get it back to the 25 tournaments that we once had. It’s a shame because it’s a great tour and people enjoy playing on it.”

While Reid admits she has settled incredibly well to life in the States and is loving the whole experience, she has a lot of sympathy for her friends on the LET who have been starved of top level golf – so much so that some are having to get jobs on the side.

“Some of my mates are having to get jobs and they’re some of the best players in Europe,” added Reid. “It’s something that you never thought would happen and it goes to show that we’ve come so far in women’s sport or sport in general and in 2017 we’re having issues like that. It’s a shame.

“Girls who have been on tour for 12 years are having to get a bar job because they can’t earn a living anymore.

“The LPGA could probably help us out in that aspect and you’ve got to understand that playing 20 events for £100,000 isn’t going to do it either. We need to be playing for at least £300,000 every tournament to make it worth your while and to get a decent field.”

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