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Women's British Open to be LPGA major ?

The Weetabix Women's British Open is the overwhelming favourite to become the fourth 'major' championship of ladies' professional golf.

The women's tour in the United States, the LPGA, is coming under pressure to name a replacement for the du Maurier Classic which has been a 'major' since 1979 but will be played for the last time next week because of legislation banning tobacco sponsorship in Canada. Former du Maurier president Jean-Paul Blais cannot find a new title sponsor for the event, and LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw is currently weighing up whether to proceed next season with just three 'majors' or to invite another existing tournament to step up in status.

Reports suggest that many influential figures within the LPGA Tour favour elevating the Women's British Open to the same 'major' level enjoyed by its male equivalent, and the news has been greeted enthusiastically by the Ladies' European Tour.

"The British Open has always been the unofficial fifth major of ladies golf," said the LET's communications manager Terence O'Rorke. "But if it could become an official major, it would be a wonderful development which would help raise the profile of the women's game in Europe.

"The British Open is already like a major with over 520,000 in prize money and a strong entry from both Europe and America. Last year at Woburn, around 54,000 spectators came through the gates - in fact, the tournament has everything but official 'major' status."

This year's Weetabix Women's British Open will be played at Royal Birkdale from August 17-20.


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