Ryann O'Toole doesn't want LIV Golf to be 'taboo' in women's game

Ryann O’Toole, the defending champion in this week’s Trust Golf Womens Scottish Open at Dundonald Links, has blamed the PGA Tour for creating golf’s “big void” by refusing to talk to LIV Golf.

Defending champion Ryann O'Toole speaks to the media ahead of this week's Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open at Dundonald Links. Picture: IMG
Defending champion Ryann O'Toole speaks to the media ahead of this week's Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open at Dundonald Links. Picture: IMG

Mollie Marcoux Samaan, the LPGA Tour commissioner, admitted last week that she would “take the call” from Greg Norman, the breakaway circuit’s CEO and commissioner, if he got in contact about LIV Golf becoming involved in the women’s game.

"I would engage in a conversation if it would achieve our aim of promoting women's golf but there needs to be input from players and sponsors," she told The Times. "There's a lot of factors to consider before we do business with LIV Golf."

Speaking in Ayrshire, where she is set to be part of the strongest-ever field for the Women’s Scottish Open, O’Toole indicated she’d welcome LPGA officials hearing what Norman would have to say.

American Ryann O'Toole shows off the trophy after her win in the 2021 Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open at Dumbarnie Links. Picture: Tristan Jones

“I'll just say this: I think the PGA Tour didn't do it right in regards to possibly sitting down and having a conversation with LIV and seeing what the possibilities were of coming together,” said the American. “I think they created a very big void with each other, and it's creating a lot of turmoil.

“I hope that if the LIV decides to approach the LPGA and create something or want to create something, that maybe we can do it together versus it being this taboo thing or this big issue where players are going have to choose.

“I think that it would be a great opportunity to utilise like the possibility that there could be some major finance opportunities, and that we come together as two organisations versus having two separate organisations.”

At the 228th attempt, O’Toole claimed her first LPGA Tour win in style with a classy three-shot success at Dumbarnie Links 12 months ago. She’s now excited to be defending her title on the west coast.

“I feel proud being the Scottish champion,” said the 35-year-old Californian. “The amount of people that have congratulated me, came up to me when I won and proud of me, it felt unbelievable. I cannot explain truly what it felt.

“To be the Scottish Women's champion, I would take it over any event. To know that golf is so important here in Scotland and then to be able to be that champion, it's meant a lot. And I would love to be the champion again this year.”

O’Toole played in this event at Dundonald Links in 2017, but, as well as the prize fund having been increased by 33 per cent to $2 million from last year, a significant investment has also been made on a clubhouse and on-site accommodation at the Ayrshire venue.

“I feel like in 2017 prior, it was one of our smaller events. It was one of those you look at and go, ‘I really don't want to go play it. I might need to take it off’,” admitted the title holder. “Now it's one you want to play.

“They definitely elevated it. It feels like a big tournament. It feels like a solid event. Looking around at the setup, the venue, everything they provide, the purse increase, it's been phenomenal. I thank Trust Golf for that and their commitment to women's golf and our partnership together.”

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