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Catriona Matthew has questioned the position of Ladies European Tour chief Ivan Khodabakhsh in the midst of the tour’s struggles.
When Khodabakhsh came to the helm ahead of the 2013 season, there were more than 20 regular season events on the schedule. Now, there are just 15, with a total prize fund across all of those similar to that of one Rolex Series event on the European Tour.
As a result, concerns about the future of the tour in recent months have grown, with some players even being forced into getting part-time jobs in order to cover costs of playing across Europe and the rest of the world.
The LET was forced to issue a statement ‘strongly rejecting’ reports of a possible collapse in June, with US-based Matthew of the opinion that the tour will struggle to recover unless Khodabakhsh moves on.
“I don’t really play much in Europe but they have obviously been having their issues with the commissioner,” she said. “I think we need to try and get that sorted and see what direction they are going to go in there.
“I think the product’s there. They have got a lot of good players. It’s just perhaps they have had the wrong person at the head, so hopefully if they can get that resolved, it can start building itself up again.”
English star Melissa Reid, who earned her LPGA Tour card for this season, echoed Matthew’s concerns when speaking to bunkered.co.uk at the Ladies Scottish Open at Dundonald Links last week.
“I don’t know what the situation is with our commissioner at the minute but something drastic needs to happen otherwise we’re not going to have a tour in a couple of years,” she said.
“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.”
Dame Laura Davies, though, believes the Ladies European Tour’s problems are far more to do with the current economic climate and other non-golfing reasons.
“It’s been a struggle this year,” she admitted. “We need backing from corporate Europe. We need them to put their money behind us and think we’re a good product, because I think we are.
“We need people to step up with the money to back us. We’re getting more TV now, which I thought was going to help, which is what Ivan did really well or has done really well, but we’re not seeing the results from it.
“I just think we’re very unlucky. I really do. I think everyone at the Tour is working so hard and they are just getting hammered left right and centre, and in a way there’s not a lot they can do about it. We’ll just have to see.”
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