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Evian to sponsor Ladies European Tour

In a landmark development for women's European professional golf, the Ladies European Tour (LET) announced today that it had signed a deal with the world's leading mineral water Evian to title-sponsor the Tour for the next three seasons.

The £3.56 million Tour, which consists of 16 ranking events across 11 different countries, will now be known as the Evian Tour.

"This is a truly historic day for women's professional golf in Europe and I applaud Evian for showing such outstanding commitment to the Tour," said Tim Howland, Chief Executive, LET.

"We have tried our best over the past 12 months to improve the opportunities for our members, and I believe this sponsorship agreement is a vindication of all our effort and hard work.

"Evian is without doubt one of the most respected brands in the world and the new association will give the Tour great credibility in the eyes of the commercial world.

"Evian is also one of the most chic and sophisticated brands, and sits perfectly with the image we are trying to create for the women's game on this side of the Atlantic."

The French mineral water has sponsored the Evian Masters for the past seven seasons. Last year, the prize money on offer at the 2000 Evian Masters was increased to £1,000,000, making it the second most lucrative event in women's golf behind the US Women's Open.

The Evian Masters is the brainchild of Franck Riboud, Chairman of the Danone Group, of which the mineral water is a part. Said Riboud: "This deal emphasises Evian's dedication to women's professional golf and the Ladies European Tour.

"It is an effective way to build a 'Champs-Elysées' shop front for the Evian brand, and it also supplements all we have been aiming to create through the Evian Masters.

"Ladies professional golf has a great future here in Europe, and we are very proud here at Evian to be able to help with its growth and development." The 1999 Evian Masters was won by the elegant Swede Catrin Nilsmark, who overturned a two shot overnight deficit to finish two clear of former world number one Laura Davies.

"This is not only great news for the LET but for women's golf on the whole," said Davies, who won three times in 1999 to bring her haul of European titles to 31.

"Evian has been a great supporter of the LET for some time now and this is further proof of the faith they have in the women's game. "It gives the Tour added credibility and in time I'm sure it will lead to greater opportunities for the players here in Europe."

This season, for the first time, the Evian Masters will be jointly sanctioned between the LET and the US LPGA Tour, thus guaranteeing the finest possible field on the banks of Lake Geneva.

Evian also sponsors France's leading women professional Sandrine Mendiburu, who last year won back-to-back titles at the Donegal Irish Ladies Open and Hannover Expo 2000 Ladies Open on her way to finishing eighth on the final Order of Merit.

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