Tour girls given shake-up

No room for high scorers

Special correspondent
Wed, 16 May 2001

Tour girls given shake-up
In a determined bid to raise the standards of the Evian Ladies European Tour, its administrators are considering cutting the size of the fields, so that only the best get to tee it up.

"People who can’t shoot decent scores should not be playing, says the Tour’s chief executive Tim Howland on the eve of the Italian Ladies Open which starts in Tuscany tomorrow (Thursday).

He says they may argue that they can't improve until there are more opportunities to play but believes some work harder than others to improve.

"Maybe we have too many members and fields are too big. I want to put together a Tour where those who have the talent and the ability will get the rewards. Those who haven't the talent, or who are unable to work as hard, will struggle."

Despite Europe's victory over the United States in the Solheim Cup in Scotland last October only 12 events currently feature on the tournament schedule, though a couple more may be secured in the Middle East and France.

Only 126 will take part in Italy, and of those only Sophie Gustafsson and Trish Johnson are in the world’s top 20. Meanwhile the Tour, which has yet to find a sponsor for the Scottish Open is considering signing up some ‘ambassadors’ to play certain events, who would be available for ‘media duties.’

The big dates on the European calendar are the $1million Evian Ladies Masters in France from June 13-16 and the Weetabix Women’s British Open at Sunningdale from August 2-5, which is now the world game’s fourth major. Both events will feature a strong American and Australian entry.