LET tests floodlights and Sunday-Wednesday events
By Tony Jimenez
LONDON (Reuters) - Floodlit golf and tournaments that run from Sunday to Wednesday are among the innovations being planned by Ivan Khodabakhsh as the Ladies European Tour (LET) supremo looks to stimulate more interest in the women's game.
The 48-year-old German has been in the role for 28 months and is ready to throw a few curve balls in a bid to gain more recognition for his organization.
"When I was putting our tournament schedule together for TV two years ago I had partners who were ready to showcase what we had," Khodabakhsh told Reuters at the LET's Buckinghamshire Golf Club headquarters on the outskirts of London.
"But they said that at the weekend their schedules were full and they had no time for us. We were trying to squeeze ourselves into one or two-hour slots.
"My point now is, let's think outside the box. Why do I have to compete with other sports at the weekend? Let's go for a blue ocean strategy and go for tournaments that run from Sunday to Wednesday when no one's showing live golf," said Khodabakhsh.
"That's a fantastic way of showcasing women's golf. I ran the idea past some of our main broadcasters and the first reaction was an odd look but then very quickly everybody saw the opportunities."
The May 17-20 Turkish Ladies Open, which carries a prize fund of 500,000 euros ($561,300), will provide a good test case when it starts on a Sunday and ends on a Wednesday at the Carya Golf Club in Belek.
The Carya, which boasts that it is the first course in Europe to have nine illuminated holes, will also be used to try out Khodabakhsh's floodlit idea on the eve of the Turkish Open. Continued...