The Ladies European Tour has denied the circuit is on the brink of folding despite losing another tournament from an already threadbare schedule.
Due to be held in September, the €500,000 Ladies European Masters has joined the Buick Championship, Czech Open, Turkish Ladies Open and another event in Italy on the scrapheap.
The latest cancellation was confirmed to players in an email from Helen Alfredsson, the LET’s Player President.
The Swede requested the news to remain confidential, but it has been leaked by one player to The Times.
The email read: “Even though you will all feel sad, disappointed, upset, furious, angry, and I must say rightfully so, but I ask you PLEASE KEEP IT INSIDE THE ROPES!
“It is tough enough, but just all try to be a team at this point and look professional. We won’t gain anything by using social media to vent the frustration, I BEG YOU!”
There have been only four events on the LET schedule so far this season, the most recent of which was in Spain in April.
One in Thailand, which takes place next week, was recently added, with the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open at Dundonald Links next up after that.
The cancellation of the event in Germany led the player who leaked the email to say she feared the Tour was facing a financial collapse, but that claim has been denied.
A statement issued today said: “The LET strongly rejects the recent negative speculation in the press about its future.
“The Tour has made significant investments over the last few years to raise its brand profile and television footprint which has already led to the introduction of a number of new tournament.
“As with any international organisation, the LET is always subject to political and commercial disruption around the world and it deeply regrets that a number of unrelated events have led to tournaments in the first half of this year’s schedule not coming to fruition as planned.
“We fully understand the frustrations that our members have with the tournament cancellations and are doing everything we can to improve the situation.
“Nonetheless, the remainder of this year’s schedule remains strong and we are looking forward to the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open - our first fully co-sanctioned event with the LPGA Tour - in July, not to mention what promises to be the biggest Solheim Cup in its history in Des Moines, Iowa, the following month.”
Scottish No 1 Catriona Matthew, who plays most of her golf on the LPGA circuit in the US, spoke earlier this year about how difficult it is for players to make a living on the LET at the moment.
“If you are an emerging player playing in Europe, you just about need to have a part-time job, I’d say, to keep you going,” said the North Berwick woman.
“It does get better as the season goes on but it’s just a tough sell to get tournaments. A lot of the top players go to America. It’s a shame, but it’s difficult.”