Ryann O’Toole has said that she thinks the PGA Tour has been too heavy handed in its handling of the LIV Golf Invitational Series and thinks there’s scope for the LPGA and LIV Golf to work together in the future.
Speaking ahead of the Women’s Scottish Open, the American said she thinks the LPGA can learn from the animosity created between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed organisation in any future negotiations. She said: “I'll just say this: I think the PGA Tour didn't do it right in regards to possibly sitting down and having a conversation with LIV and seeing what the possibilities were of coming together. I think they created a very big void with each other, and it's creating a lot of turmoil.”
Video: What Is LIV Golf?
The PGA Tour has issued indefinite suspensions to all players teeing it up in the Series as the fallout from the inaugural season of the Saudi-backed venture rumbles on. As far as O’Toole is concerned, that needn’t be the case in any future talks between LIV Golf and the LPGA.
She continued: “I hope that if the LIV decides to like approach the LPGA and create something or want to create something, that maybe we can do it together versus it being this taboo thing or this big issue where players are going have to choose. I think that it would be a great opportunity to utilise like the possibility that there could be some major finance opportunities, and that we come together as two organisations versus having two separate organisations.”
O’Toole’s comments echo those of LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan, who last week said the organisation “would engage in a conversation with LIV Golf”. She also 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.” That suggests the LPGA would approach any talks in the spirit suggested by O’Toole.
However, there is some confusion as to when - or even if - any discussion might take place. In May, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman told the '5 Live Sport: All About...' podcast, that the LET and LPGA Tours had rejected offers from them. He 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 10 years. If a similar investment is forthcoming for the women’s game, it would likely see its profile grow substantially.
The LPGA’s Women’s Scottish Open gets under way on Thursday at Dundonald Links, where players will compete for a $2m purse.
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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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