Rose Ladies Series returns in 2021, motivates European players in search of their big break | Golf news and tour information
With the ladies’ European tour in temporary suspension brought on by a pandemic last year, Liz Young had an idea. To give her fellow pros a chance to play and fill the competitive void, the 37-year-old Englishwoman has enlisted the help of sponsors to help her organize a one-day tournament at her home club, Brockenhurst. Manor. Two people who heard the call, via Excel’s sports manager Paul McDonnell, were Justin Rose and his wife, Kate. And when the couple donated £ 35,000, matched by American Golf and Computacenter, what would become the ‘Rose Ladies Series’ was up and running.
Last summer, eight one-day events were contested on some of the best courses in southern England including Royal St. George’s, Moor Park, North Hants (Rose’s home course) and the Berkshire. The highlight was a three-day, 54-hole event on the West Course at Wentworth, home of the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship. (Unfortunately this grand finale had to be scrapped on day 2 due to the threat of fire on nearby Chobham Common).
Still, the pitches at each event, which included a mix of LET pros and big-time amateurs, reflected the need for top performers to hone their games in the middle of the lockdown. Solheim Cup players Georgia Hall and Charley Hull (who would win the Order of Merit) both took the win, as did Gemma Dryburgh, another LPGA player. Dame Laura Davies was another of 174 players to play in at least one of the tournaments.
But alongside the practical and financial help the Roses offered, it was the psychological boost women felt from the business world that so often overlooked them. LET is not the most prominent circuit in world golf, so for the players, their existence and their struggles so publicly recognized by a former world No.1 represented a major step forward.
England’s Meg MacLaren, winner of the RLS 2020 and one of the game’s most eloquent spokespersons, is just one who appreciated the opportunity offered by a circuit that has grown even further in 2021. Scotscraig in Fife, where Justin Rose, 14, first tried to qualify for the Open Championship) and, like last year, a stellar list of tournament venues: West Lancashire, Woburn, Royal Birkdale and Hillside will host (or have already) organized events. At each event, the winner earns £ 10,000, which is double the offer in 2020.
“Even now, over a year later, it all seems a little surreal,” says MacLaren, who plays a large chunk of his golf on the Symetra Tour in the United States. of the realities that professional women face was enormous. That alone would have been enough to give us, as women, enormous encouragement. Encouragement for the world to change; that there is hope for progress in a sport that is still stifled by white male privilege. Recognition and respect was a first step to which we aspire.
“It’s hard to put into words what the Rose series has meant to us,” continued MacLaren, two-time LET winner. “It goes beyond the financial aspects, although this particular year the incentives literally change careers. Last summer’s series brought to life what has been a terrible year for so many. Going from months of uncertainty and postponement to legitimate tournaments to play, on championship golf courses, has provided much needed motivation for many of us.
Speaking to Telegraph Sport, Justin Rose explained his reasons for getting involved.
“It’s great that we’ve been able to put it all together and as always there are always so many to thank,” said the former US Open champion. “These obviously include the players themselves, because they are the ones who made the series such a success. When you have pros with the profile of Charley Hull and Georgia Hall competing, it clearly increases status and therefore interest. After last year’s series, Kate and I were asked if it would be relaunched in 2021, but our opinion was that it would be great if it wasn’t necessary and that there would be plenty anyway. opportunities for these players.
“But while the Ladies European Tour calendar is excellent and bodes so well for the future, there are still some gaps and that’s where we come in. So the first quartet [West Lancs on April 29, Woburn on May 6, Brockenhurst Manor on May 13 and The Berkshire on May 21] gave women the chance to hone their games before LET really began. “
This year’s RLS will conclude with the Grand Final at Bearwood Lakes on September 25.