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LET & LPGA on collision course over "World Cup"

The Ladies European Tour are on a collision course with America's LPGA Tour over rival World Cup of Golf tournaments. Two months after the European Tour announced a World Cup at Adare Manor, Limerick, from Sept 14-17, the American LPGA Tour have announced a World Cup of their own for Malaysia in December. Their version will be called the Women's World Cup as opposed to the Ladies' World Cup.

The more cynical harbour the dark suspicion that the LPGA's response is born of irritation at the idea of the smaller European Tour getting their hands on something they want. As to why they would want it, well, it is not impossible they are influenced by the money which could be generated by such a contest in the years to come.

The excitement sired by a women's World Cup in Ireland - to be run in conjunction with the Irish Tourist Board - was just what was needed by the European Tour. Laura Davies is participating, while the golfing federations of Europe have applauded the event.

It was after Tim Howland, the commissioner of the European Tour, had made the LPGA Tour fully aware of developments that Ty Votaw, the LPGA commissioner, suddenly started talking in terms of a World Cup of his own.

Howland noted there was surely room for two tournaments run along slightly different lines. If the Americans would play ball with the European's World Cup, he would ensure his players supported theirs.

But then the International Golf Association, who own the rights to the men's World Cup, said he could not call his event the Ladies' World Cup of Golf because they owned the title.

And those playing on the LPGA tour had been advised the World Cup in Ireland was unlikely to happen and the Malaysian event was the real McCoy.

Howland is happy for his players to go to Malaysia, however he is determined not to have his own tournament sabotaged: "We have registered the name Ladies' World Cup and our advisers tell us there isn't a problem. We are continuing to talk with the LPGA, but if their event should damage ours in any way, we would take further legal advice."


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