|LET CEO Ivan Khodabakhsh|
The 2014 Ladies European Tour schedule, announced today, features a minimum of 22 tournaments, retaining all of the destinations from the 2013 calendar and including 18 countries and regions across the world.
The 12-month golfing odyssey hits the road at the end of January with the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Women’s Open and travels across all five continents before the season comes to a thrilling climax with the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters in the UAE in early December.
Ladies European Tour Chief Executive Officer Ivan Khodabakhsh said: “I am delighted to present today a full and flowing schedule which will give the Ladies European Tour members the best opportunity to display their skills and talents on the international stage.
“By working closely with fellow Tours, Federations, venues and sponsors, we have been able to ensure that the players’ schedules will not conflict, for the good of women’s golf and the fans who will be able to watch the players compete at some of the best international venues
“The LET is delighted to have the continued commitment and dedication of all of our tournament promoters and sponsors. Their conviction in our brand and support of our players will allow us to grow women’s professional golf further and we are in negotiations with fellow Tours, Federations, venues and sponsors regarding additional tournaments in 2014. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our current and future business partners for a fantastic 2013 season and look forward to sharing another exciting 12 months with our colleagues across the world.”
In 2013, an amazing 12 months on the LET was highlighted by Europe’s first Solheim Cup victory on US soil. With the final result 18-10, this was the competition’s biggest ever margin of victory and it showed the strength and talents of the European golfers.
The Tour also welcomed 17-year-old Charley Hull who made her Solheim Cup debut and took the race for the rookie of the year award down to the wire with a close battle against fellow Briton Holly Clyburn in Dubai.
Norwegian Suzann Pettersen topped the ISPS HANDA Order of Merit after winning the Evian Championship, but it wasn’t only the Europeans who did well.
With members from 40 different countries, the Tour had an increasingly global flavour. Moroccan Maha Haddioui became the LET’s first full-time Arab member while the inclusion of players such as Maria Salinas from Peru and Namibian Bonita Bredenhann reflected the Tour’s popularity in different regions.
With the Olympics on the horizon, The Tour has taken on special significance for players from a multitude of different countries who aim to qualify when golf returns to the programme in 2016 after a 104-year absence.
In 2014, the Tour will once again showcase the facilities in each country to a global audience, driving inbound tourism, with increased television coverage and live broadcasts from at least 10 tournaments, in addition to the majors.
Highlights of the year will include the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club in England, the home of the LET, on July 3-6. Following the tournament’s success in 2013, the event will be played over four rounds instead of three with an increased prize fund of 500,000 euro.
The Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, on March 13-16, will celebrate its 20th anniversary and carries a significantly increased purse of 450,000 euro.
The Tour tees off on 31 January in New Zealand and makes three stops in Australasia before visiting Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The season concludes on December 7 when it comes to a fitting climax in Dubai, one of the most popular destinations of the year.
The 2014 Ladies European Tour Schedule:
ISPS HANDA New Zealand Women’s Open, Clearwater Golf Club, Clearwater, New Zealand Jan 31-Feb 2
VOLVIK RACV Australian Masters, RACV Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia Feb 6-9
ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open, Victoria Golf Club, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Feb 13-16
Mission Hills World Ladies Championship, Blackstone Course, Mission Hills Hainan, Haikou, Hainan, China March 6-9
Lalla Meryem Cup, Golf de l’Ocean, Agadir, Morocco March 13-16
Turkish Ladies Open, National Golf Club, Belek, Antalya, Turkey May 8-11
Deloitte Ladies Open, The International Amsterdam, Netherlands May 23-25
Ladies Slovak Open, Golf Resort Talé, Brezno, Talé, Slovakia June 20-22
ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters, Buckinghamshire Golf Club, Denham, Buckinghamshire, England July 3-6
RICOH Women’s British Open, Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Lancashire, England July 10-13
Ladies German Open, Wörthsee Golf Club, Wörthsee, Germany July 17-20
Pilsen Golf Masters, Golf Park Plzeň-Dýšina, Czech Republic August 7-10
Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scotland Open presented by EventScotland, Archerfield Links, East Lothian, Scotland August 29-31
The Helsingborg Open, Vasatorp Golf Club, Helsingborg, Sweden Sept 4-7
The Evian Championship, Evian Resort Golf Club, Evian-les-Bains, France Sept 11-14
Open de España Femenino, Venue TBC, Spain Sept 18-21
Lacoste Ladies Open de France, Chantaco Golf Club, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Aquitaine, France Oct 2-5
South African Women’s Open, San Lameer Country Club, Hibiscus Coast, South Africa Oct 16-19
Suzhou Taihu Open, Suzhou Taihu International Golf Club, Suzhou, China Nov 7-9
Sanya Ladies Open, Yalong Bay Golf Club, Sanya, Hainan, China Nov 14-16
Hero Women’s Indian Open, Venue TBC, India Nov 27-29
Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, Emirates Golf Club (Majlis Course), Dubai, UAE Date TBC.