LPGA Tour commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan has revealed the organisation is open to the idea of working with LIV Golf.
The profile of the women’s game has grown considerably in recent years. However, it still lags behind the men’s game. According to a report in The Times, Marcoux Samaan appears keen to engage with LIV Golf if it can help promote the women’s game. She said: “It’s my responsibility to evaluate every opportunity. I would engage in a conversation if it would achieve our aim of promoting women’s golf but there needs to be input from players and sponsors. There’s a lot of factors to consider before we do business with LIV Golf.”
While the huge financial backing of the Saudi-backed organisation could undoubtedly raise the profile – and purses – of the women’s game, it is not without controversy, which explains Marcoux Samaan's wariness at striking a deal with the Greg Norman-fronted group. For example, there have been accusations of sportswashing, while the Saudi link inspired a letter sent from 9/11 families to LIV Golf’s US players last month.
Nevertheless, Marcoux Samaan appears to keen to avoid the same turmoil that has engulfed the men’s game since the launch of the LIV Golf Invitational Series. That has included players signing up for the Series being suspended from both the DP World Tour and PGA Tour, along with issues over Ryder Cup participation. She said: “Working together is always better than a fractured organisation. The LPGA has been breaking down barriers for years and hopes to continue to do so.”
Marcoux Samaan's willingness to speak to LIV Golf contradicts comments made by Norman in May, who claimed that the LET and LPGA Tours had rejected offers from them. Speaking on the '5 Live Sport: All About...' podcast, Norman said: "Well, we did approach the LET and the LPGA [Tours] with a substantial investment like the Asian Tour and we were rejected. So who is suppressing women's golf, quite honestly?"
LIV Golf are investing $300 million in the Asian Tour over the next decade as part of an annual 10-event "International Series". Meanwhile, Saudi-backed investment in the women’s game wouldn’t be without precedent - the state-owned oil company Aramco are big-money sponsors of the Ladies European Tour’s Aramco Team Series.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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