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Golf News: - Posted 6th January 1998

Laura Davies promises support for faltering women's tour

London - Laura Davies has blasted golfing chiefs for failing to promote the sport in Europe - but pledged to support the faltering women's tour by staging her own tournament.

Davies, the 34-year-old former world number one, believes women's golf has not been marketed well since the stunning 1992 Solheim Cup victory over the United States and has called for more tournaments to prevent demise of the sport.

"We're in a bit of a mess basically and for what reason I don't know. I'm a golfer," she fumed.

"It's bad marketing, I suppose. When we won the Solheim Cup in 1992 you'd have thought everything would take off and go forward, but it didn't.

"We're trying to get a new executive director at the moment and that's the next step."

Terry Coates is stepping down at the end of next month, having threatened to resign along with deputy Gill Wilson at a stormy annual meeting last May.

Davies explained: "I think the administrators must be disappointed not to have built on the success of the Solheim Cup. They have a great product I think. Obviously it's difficult with Annika (Sorenstam), Lotta Neumann, Alison Nicholas and myself playing in America, but we're all prepared to come back if there are tournaments to play in.

"I don't understand it, but hopefully it will not get any worse than this."

Davies bemoaned the number of tournaments on offer to professional women golfers.

"We've got seven guaranteed tournaments for this year. Hopefully it will be up to about 14 or 15, but the fact that we're not playing 25 a year at this stage is unbelievable," she said.

"There are not going to be any Laura Davieses of the future if the tour offers seven tournaments. There's absolutely no way.

"Some of the seven are limited fields, so some of the younger players are not able to get into all of them. The time has come for something to happen.

"Obviously my name is quite big in Britain and if I can get one tournament then hopefully something can stem from that.

"I'm having talks with a company and whether they're interested or not we will have to wait and see. They are going to have a big meeting about it soon I think and hopefully they will come in behind us.

"If they do it will be good for everybody. I will try and twist a few arms like Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Nancy Lopez to get a good field.

"There's no reason why we shouldn't have a tournament like that. Betsy King did it in America and Greg Norman has his Shark Shoot-out.

"It might not come off, but I've got to have a go. Somebody's got to try something.

The major sponsor American Express recently decided not to sponsor the women's tour, the type of decision which has cast doom and gloom on the game in Europe.

Davies, speaking on BBC Radio, added: "It's very disappointing - that's the word all the girls will be using at the moment," Davies said.

"It doesn't seem fair somehow. If we were tennis players things would be crazy. Can you imagine Wimbledon if 10 of the world's top 20 were European - and British mainly?

"European women's golf is as strong as European men's golf but they are going from strength to strength and we seem to be weakening all the time.

"The thing I worry about is the younger players, that in 10 years' time we're not going to have a team worthy of playing a Solheim Cup match against the Americans.

"Twenty years ago we couldn't raise a team, now we can, but if it doesn't get better in Europe we're going to go back to that situation when the likes of myself and Trish Johnson are bowing out."