By Kate Rowan 7 June 2020 • (The Telegraph)
Justin Rose and his wife Kate are to sponsor a series of women’s golf tournaments for British professionals starting on June 18.
There will be seven events on the Rose Ladies Series including a tournament at Royal St George’s Golf Club, which would have hosted the men at the Open Championship next month before it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is understood that Rose, the 2013 US Open Champion and gold medallist at the Rio Olympics, is contributing £35,000 into the series as prize money, while all seven golf courses are giving up their facilities free of charge. All the tournaments will be played behind closed doors but Sky Sports will be broadcasting.
Last week the Sunday Telegraph revealed that golf would be the first women’s sport to return in Britain with the hosting of the Women’s Open at Brokenhurst Manor, a one-day event to be held on June 18.
The tournament was the brainchild of Ladies European Tour player Liz Young and Jason MacNiven, who runs a custom club-fitting company at the Hampshire course. However, the event was without a sponsor and a broadcast partner.
The Evian Championship, which is a major, is due to be held between August 6 and 10 at the Evian Resort in the French Alps but not all LET players would be eligible to play. The LET and LPGA are expected to return in August.
“I am keenly aware that I now have the opportunity to go back to work and compete on the PGA Tour but this is not the same for the ladies and some junior tours as well,” said Rose, who also sponsors the Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Golf Championship.
“I am sad that the Ladies’ European Tour has been suffering so badly. To me this seems somewhat unfair my wife Kate and I felt there was an opportunity to step up and help.
“The prize money is modest because it is me throwing in some money and then the ladies are paying an entry fee and being able to play for a pot. We wanted to give them the opportunity to play and to be ready for when the opportunities arise later in the summer.”
Other courses that have been signed up to host the JR Series are Bearwood Lakes Golf Club in Berkshire, JCB Golf and Country Club in Uttoxeter, Moor Park Golf Club and Buckinghamshire Golf Club
The Roses’ intervention has come at a time when women’s sport has been lagging behind the men in terms of re-opening in the UK with women’s football, rugby and netball leagues all cancelled with no imminent return date.
The cause is particularly close to Kate’s heart as she was a European champion gymnast. “I read about what Liz was trying to do and thought that Justin and I had to help”, said Kate.
“It is so important for the visibility of ladies’ golf that they can play at good courses and on TV because they need to be out there to both attract sponsors and keep their current sponsors happy as well as allowing more people to get to know who they are."