Next year's Vic Open will no longer include the Ladies European Tour

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LET Dealt Huge Blow As Vic Open Partners With LPGA Tour

The Vic Open has been heralded for breaking ground within the game for including both men and women in its annual tournament.

The Aussie event has been on the Ladies European Tour schedule in recent years as well as the men’s PGA Tour of Australia, and next year’s tournament will include the men’s European Tour for the first time.

However, the tournament was also set to feature the Ladies European Tour once again, but will now host the LPGA Tour instead.

It’s a huge blow to the LET which is currently struggling for events, sponsorship and prize money, and the whopping 3m Australian Dollar prize fund ($1.5m each for men and women) was a huge boost.

The news comes less than three months prior to the event starting on 7th February.

The tournament, formerly won by 2018 Women’s British Open champion Georgia Hall, will still feature the men’s European Tour as well as the ALPG Tour and PGA Tour of Australia.

There has been some criticism from the decision, including from three-time LET winner Beth Allen.

Allen wrote on Twitter, “Really sad to hear that @GolfAust has decided not to include the @LETgolf for the 2019 @VicOpenGolf.

“Myself & many other members of the LET have supported the event from the start. To be excluded the year that the event has reached over 1 million AUD is so disappointing.”

The LET 2018 schedule featured 22 tournaments including four Tour Schools, the GolfSixes and US Women’s Open qualifier.

The 1.5m Australian Dollar Vic Open would have been equal to the Ladies Scottish Open fund and larger than every other event barring the majors.

It’s obviously a huge blow for the LET and even more so due to the fact that 2019 is a Solheim Cup year.

Mel Reid, who recently gained her 2019 LPGA Tour card, made comments earlier this year about fellow golfers on the LET who had to get part time jobs due to the lack of opportunities in Europe.

“A lot of my friends, who have been on Tour for 12 years, have had to get part-time jobs. Golf is supposed to be the second highest paid women’s sport,” she told the BBC’s ‘The Cut’ Podcast.

She continued, “they are elite athletes but if they are having to work part-time jobs how are they meant to put in the hours to get the best out of their abilities? It’s just not right.”

Reid told the BBC that the LET “needs help” and that it was “heartbreaking” to see the lack of tournaments on the schedule.

This week sees the Andalucia Costa del Sol Open de Espana, the final event of the season barring the two following Tour Schools, which has a prize pool of €300,000.

To put that into context, last week’s LPGA Tour season finale saw winner Lexi Thompson pick up a cheque of $500,000.

Also last week, the LPGA Tour announced a huge financial increase to the season finale CME Tour Championship where the winner will earn $1.5m, a winner’s cheque larger than 33 of the 47 men’s PGA Tour events.

This week’s men’s European Tour event, the Hong Kong Open, sees a prize pool of $2,000,000, a relatively small one compared to other events.

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