Coronavirus: Kelsey MacDonald says LPGA merger has saved LET from being on 'last legs'

Kelsey MacDonald reckons the Ladies European Tour would have been on its "last legs" at the end of the coronavirus shutdown but for a timely merger.

Kelsey MacDonald, pictured talking to caddie Tim Poyser in last year's Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, recorded her best LET performance in the last event on the circuit before it was shutdown by the virus. Picture: Aberdeen Standard Investments
Kelsey MacDonald, pictured talking to caddie Tim Poyser in last year's Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, recorded her best LET performance in the last event on the circuit before it was shutdown by the virus. Picture: Aberdeen Standard Investments

The LET, which has its headquarters in England, is now under the umbrella of the US-based LPGA following a 50-50 joint venture announced last November.

The merger followed a tough time for the LET as the loss of a number of events left members with a threadbare schedule.

Though currently in limbo along with all the other tours around the world, the 2020 schedule had been looking much healthier with more events and a record prize fund of almost €18 million.

"The timing couldn't have worked better for us," admitted MacDonald, who felt the pinch along with other LET players during the circuit's rocky spell.

"I'd hate to think of the position we (the LET) would have been in had it not happened. Mike Whan (the LPGA's commissioner) has done such an incredible job."

A new mixed event due to be hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Henrik Stenson in Sweden has been cancelled while a handful of other scheduled tournaments have been postponed.

Still standing at the moment are both the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the AIG Women's British Open, which are scheduled to be held back-to-back in August at The Renaissance Club and Royal Troon respectively.

"There is probably going to be a little trough because of what's happened," added MacDonald, a former Scottish Women's Amateur champion, having claimed that title at Craigielaw.

"But hopefully in the next few years it's going to be a tour that goes from strength to strength. If the merger hadn't happened, I think we would have been on our last legs. I'm grateful the timing has worked in our favour."

The R&A has already cancelled The Open and, though no decision has been made yet, it would seem the AIG Women's British Open could suffer the same fate.

“I have not heard anything," said MacDonald of the major. "I have been in touch with our players’ council representative. We just got told about Morocco (the postponement of the Lalla Meryem Cup) and Sweden (the mixed event being cancelled), but we have not heard anything about the British Open.

“It would be a blow (if it was cancelled), but it would be quite difficult for them to have the women’s tournament and not the men’s. I don’t know how that would go down.

"Each day things are changing, so you never know. I haven't played in a British Open yet, but I'm sitting 10th in the order of merit at the moment and that gives me a good chance to play this year."

In one of the last events to be played around the world before the professional game shutdown, MacDonald recorded a career-best LET performance when finishing joint-fourth in the Investec South African Women's Open.

“I think everyone, when they are on form, wants to keep going, so I’m a little disappointed the season has come to a pause and it's a bit of a waiting game at the moment," she admitted.

“I’ve got my Huxley putting matt, so I’ve been doing a lot of putting drills. I’m basically trying to do as much as I can, and control the controllables. I have a routine and I split my day into sections, and try to do as much as I can that I would do in preparation for a tournament.

“In the diary, we have still got an event scheduled for June 18-20, so I’ve just got to keep that date in mind and try to do as much as I can.

"A couple of years ago I was quite ill with a burst appendix which resulted in sepsis and was in hospital for four or five weeks and almost had to come back and start again.

"So I think I'm probably a lot stronger mentally in comparison to a lot of girls because I've been in that position where I've had to graft to come back.

"So, to me, it's not a worry at the moment. I just have to keep what I'm doing and control what I can moving forward."