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LPGA to decide on British Open this month

While mum has been the word, the LPGA has been having preliminary discussions about which tournament should be the fourth major on the schedule going forward. With the loss of the du Maurier Classic, the fourth major for the past 21 years, the tour is trying to find a comparable replacement.

A decision is expected by the end of the month, and don't be surprised if the final Grand Slam event will be played across the pond.

According to one of the LPGA board of directors, a vote was held on the subject last week and while nothing was resolved, the obvious choice -- the Weetabix British Open -- was the leading candidate.

Besides the British Open, the other tournaments under consideration are the Big Apple Classic in New York, the Wegman's Rochester International, and the currently-extinct Titleholders Championship.

By all indications, the Big Apple Classic and Wegman's Rochester International are out of the running.

Karrie Webb in favour of British Open becoming a LPGA major.Allsport

Many of the LPGA purists would like to see the Titleholders revived but the tour may be forced to go with the British Open because of the stability of the event and the instant credibility that goes along with the name.

The Titleholders would be a sentimental choice since it was the first major and oldest tournament played on the LPGA Tour -- dating back to 1937. For almost 40 years the tournament was held at Augusta Country Club, which is the next-door neighbor to Augusta National the site of the Masters, and was considered the equivalent to many women professional golfers.

But in the last five years, the tour tried to revive the name with a tournament in Daytona Beach, at the tour's headquarters, but that has since found its way into the obituaries.

On Tuesday, one European player called the choice of the British Open a "no-brainer."

Besides falling in line with the PGA Tour's majors -- something the women hate to do -- the British Open provides nostalgic courses that will challenge the best players in the world.The British Open even recently got a vote of confidence from Karrie Webb.

"I don't see another tournament on the LPGA Tour that for me could be afourth major," said the No. 1 player on the tour. "The rotation of courses we have here now is unbelievable."

Two years ago, the British Open was played at Royal Lytham. Like this year's site, Royal Birkdale, it is a regular site for the men's Open. After Sunningdale next year, it will be played at Turnberry in 2002 -- another men's site -- and back at Lytham the following year.

If this indeed is the rotation, there should be no argument that the British Open should to be the final crown jewel in women's golf.




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