EXCLUSIVE

David Leadbetter calls for new women's team event

David Leadbetter And Kang

With the dust settling on the 2017 Solheim Cup, top coach David Leadbetter has called on golf’s authorities to explore the possibility of adding a new team event to the ladies’ calendar. 

Leadbetter, coach to multiple players who played in this year’s match, including American ace Danielle Kang, above, told bunkered.co.uk that the sport requires a match between Asia and the ‘Rest of the World’ to give the best women golfers in the world a platform.

Only five of the world’s top 20 featured in this year’s Solheim, won by the USA. Of those, only Lexi Thompson, the world No.2, ranks in the top ten. By contrast, golfers from Asian countries account for 12 of the current top 20.

“The Solheim Cup is a great competition but there’s often an asterisk next to it,” said Leadbetter. “I think they need to work on having a Rest of the World, combining Europe, the USA and everywhere else, to play the best players for Asia in the alternate years to the Solheim, a bit like you have with the Presidents Cup as an alternative to the Ryder Cup in the men’s game.”

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Leadbetter’s proposal is certainly an interesting idea. In terms of broadcast rights alone, it would be potentially hugely lucrative for the ladies’ game and would likely widen the appeal and reach of the sport around the world.

“I think it would be the logical next step,” he added. “Professional ladies’ golf is pretty much a global tour these days. I don’t want the Solheim Cup to lose its identity. It’s a fantastic event and the quality of golf on display this year was particularly high. It’s amazing how close the matches have typically been. 

“But if you look at the Ryder Cup, the players who play in it regularly make up a high proportion of the world’s top ten or 20 golfers. That’s not the case with the Solheim.”

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