Golf: No Solheim solace for under-par tour: Neglected and scorned, the European Women's Tour has bogeys to lay. Liz Khan reports

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The Independent Online
THE Solheim Cup victory over the United States was a collective shout to the world. Now Europe's women golfers need someone to blow their trumpet, and loudly.

The roll call of their achievements in America rivals anything attained by the men, considering their own tour began only in 1979.

Laura Davies and Liselotte Neumann took the US Open title in 1987 and 1988, and now Helen Alfredsson and Trish Johnson have secured victories in successive weeks on the LPGA tour. Alfredsson took the prestigious Nabisco Dinah Shore at Mission Hills, where the field is as elite as that of a US Masters, winning by two shots from a group including Betsy King. Johnson won the Las Vegas LPGA tournament, four shots ahead of Brandie Burton, who was in last year's defeated American Solheim Cup team.

Last season on the LPGA tour, Florence Descampe won the McCall's LPGA classic, and then finished runner-up to Alfredsson as they competed for LPGA Rookie of the Year, which went to the Swede.

In addition to their US Open victories, Davies has won four LPGA tour events and Neumann one. In all, Europe's women have won three majors and eight tour events in just over five seasons of playing on the LPGA tour.

These illustrious feats have received little acclaim, so little that the European team's Solheim Cup victory at Dalmahoy was not even televised. The women take plenty of admonishment for the poor state of their tour on home shores, yet time and again prove their clubs can do the talking against the best in the world.

One has to question the marketing strategy of the Women's Professional Golfers' European Tour, when, following one of the greatest victories ever achieved in women's golf - the European professionals slaughtering the American Solheim Cup team 11 1/2 - 6 1/2 - the European Association's 1993 yearbook has been produced with a plain black front cover.

Is the WPGET in mourning when there should be great rejoicing at such a stupendous achievement? How can the glaringly obvious opportunity to picture the victorious European team fail to make front cover news on the Association's own player guide?

The former WPGET director, Andrea Doyle, has been sacked, yet her message in the yearbook remains, complete with an error stating that the Europeans 'comprehensively defeated the United States 11-6 at Dalmahoy'. Doyle, who thought that the Solheim Cup was 'just another week in the calendar', sadly underrated her players, her captain and her tour.

Davies has always staunchly supported the European tour, even to the extent of craving victory in the Solheim Cup last year more than a personal US Open win. She has pledged her continued backing and returns to what is left of the tour - currently 12 events. Whoever takes up the reins from Doyle - Terry Coates has taken over only on an interim basis - needs to have more regard for Europe's women professionals, and realise the significance of their status worldwide.

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