The European women's tour yesterday announced four new tournaments for next season - but also the loss of one of its longest-running events.
The Ford Classic has been part of the circuit since 1982 and this year at Chart Hills in Kent had prize-money of pounds 110,000. However, it has disappeared from the calendar because of the loss of the motor company's sponsorship - which has happened despite Europe boasting the top three players in the world rankings in Laura Davies and the Swedes Annika Sorenstam and Liselotte Neumann.
The four new events are the Deesse Swiss Open in June, the McDonald's WPGA championship in August at a Scottish venue yet to be named, the Compaq Open three weeks later in Sweden and the Three Nations Cup in October in Belgium. The McDonald's event will be the first tour event played solely for charity, with all proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald Children's Charities.
Highlights of the season include the pounds 500,000 Weetabix Women's British Open at Woburn on 15-18 August and the Solheim Cup match against the Americans at St Pierre, Chepstow, on 20-22 September.
The circuit, which will visit 15 different countries, will also kick off at St Pierre with the Welsh Open on May 2 to 5. All three days of the Solheim Cup will be televised live on both sides of the Atlantic by Sky Sports and the American channel NBC.
Tour schedule, Sporting Digest, page 31