LPGA Tour actively seeking investment following Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup drama

Player numbers are on the rise in women’s golf and prize money is up over £30m in the last two years

Karl Matchett
Monday 02 October 2023 15:32 BST
(Getty Images)

The biggest women’s golf tour in the world is set to name a strategic advisor as it searches for investment to boost both its profile and broadcast coverage, with the LPGA Tour saying they believe to be “sitting on a gold mine” if they can increase coverage and finances.

Over the past two weeks, the sport’s centre stage has been on the team environment rather than the more frequent solo play tournaments, with first the Solheim Cup and then the Ryder Cup both providing thrilling drama and exceptional storylines across the course.

But while the men’s event pitching golfers from the USA against the best Europe has to offer was reportedly shown for over 100 hours across US television channels, the women’s event - the Solheim Cup - had only 25 hours across cable TV and streaming, report the Financial Times.

As such, the LPGA is keen to take advantage of the growth in popularity the sport is enjoying, with the FT further reporting the organisation’s commissioner, Mollie Marcoux Samaan, confirming that a “strategic planning partner” would soon be appointed to oversee opportunities around external investment. That comes on the back of a commercial partnership agreed two months ago with the owners of Liverpool FC and the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Sports Group.

“When you start to look at the commercialistion of the two [competitions], they become apples and organes. There’s been tremendous investment in the Ryder Cup and the results have followed because it’s a great product,” Marcoux Samaan said. “I’m 100 per cent convinced that if we got even a small percentage of the investment made in the Ryder Cup, the Solheim Cup could be a huge home run for players, for fans, for broadcasters and sponsors. I think we’re sitting on a gold mine.”

Europe triumphed in both competitions over USA, with Tommy Fleetwood ultimately ensuring victory in Rome this past weekend just after Carlota Ciganda had played a massive part in Europe’s incredible comeback meaning they retained their trophy in Andalucia.

Investment in men’s golf has hit the headlines over the past couple of years after the Saudi-backed LIV Golf rival tour led to a breakaway of some of the game’s top players and no shortage of in-fighting, before a stunning about-face from the PGA Tour saw them agree broad terms on a merger deal in June.

That process is still ongoing but the PGA Tour recently acknowledged they had received interest in investment from outside Saudi’s Public Investment Fund.

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