JUSTIN Rose and his wife Kate are to sponsor the Rose Ladies Series of women’s golf tournaments in the UK – culminating in a two-day final.
The Roses decided to put up £35,0000 to sponsor the one-day events in June and July after reading about fellow Hampshire-based professional Liz Young’s efforts to put on a competition at her home club in the New Forest.
Young – who was English Women’s Amateur Strokeplay Champion in 2006 – came up with her idea to enable players to stay competitive, ahead of the LET’s return to golf.
She appealed for sponsors to help with her day at Brokenhurst Manor, where her amateur career blossomed.
She got to play with Nick Faldo in the USA and made her Curtis Cup debut at St Andrews Old Course.
And Rose, who came through the same junior ranks in Hampshire as Liz a decade earlier, not only backed the Brokenhurst event.
He also supported the formation of a mini-tour in England over the next two months including a visit to Royal St George’s in Kent.
Officially known as the Rose Ladies Series, the schedule includes:–
18 – Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club
25 – Moor Park Golf Club
2 – Buckinghamshire Golf Club
9 – Royal St George’s
16 – JCB Golf & Country Club
23 – Bearwood Lakes Golf Club
30/31 – Final TBC
“I can’t thank Justin and Kate enough for coming onboard, creating opportunities and increasing the visibility for professional women golfers.
“I would also like to thank the Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club members.
“Their encouragement and support has been amazing from the start.
“And I’m sure that with the news of Justin and Kate being involved, they will be as excited as I am.
“It makes me so proud to be a member of BMGC.”
Jason: ‘Time to give something back’
Liz, who played Stacy Lewis in the singles at the 2008 Curtis Cup against the USA, said: “This all started with an idea that myself and our head pro Jason McNiven had.
“We went to the club with it and we had great support from them.
“We had a vision from the start – get women competing again, increase the profile and visibility of women’s professional golf and inspire the next generation.
“Hopefully, the players would embrace the chance to play, see that it could be done and maybe take it to their clubs.
“Thanks to Justin, Kate and his team, our dream has come true… in a week!”
Jason added: “It was a simple idea and concept – play for your own money and you get to enjoy competing again.
“We are delighted to have help from Justin and Kate, as they can grow the series, which is what we initially wanted to do.
“We want to inspire the next generation. And hopefully if this is an annual event, then kids can walk the fairways with their heroes.
“It is my duty to help the girls, it is time for me to put back into the sport and help the women, so it’s the right thing to do.
“Liz and I flew the kite and it has officially taken off.”
Club ‘delighted’ to support Rose series
Club manager Kevin Light said: “Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club is delighted to host the first event of the upcoming Rose Ladies Series.
“Knowing that Liz had spoken about the LET schedule being the strongest in a number of years – only for coronavirus to hit – we were only too happy to step in.”
Rose was inspired to help by the lack of golf facing the LET players this summer as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Justin felt it was unfair that he will return to action on the PGA tour with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club, in Texas, on Thursday – two months before his female counterparts are able to do so.
Rose, who won the Mike Smith Memorial Trophy in 1996 – setting the course record at Brokenhurst Manor in the process – said: “Professional sports people are not machines – we cannot just power on and go.
“We have to nurture our skills in order to rely on them when needed – usually under pressure.
“My wife and I felt it was an opportunity for us to help where we can,” said Rose, the 2013 US Open Champion – and gold medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“We are therefore delighted to say that we will be supporting a mini-series for ladies to take place in June and July.
“This will comprise a number of one-day events at some of the top courses in England.
Justin: ‘Sky have agreed to televise Rose Ladies Series’
“The prize money will be modest, but we hope the series will give our talented lady golfers the opportunity to showcase their skills.
“Sky TV have agreed to provide a package for viewers and the Sunday Telegraph will ensure the events are well-reported.
“Needless to say, Kate and I are immensely grateful to the host clubs for making their courses available to us, and for the enthusiastic support of all those behind the scenes who make the tournaments run smoothly.
“Golf is a sport that is able to be played while socially distancing.
“And hopefully the TV coverage of the ladies competing can inspire more women and families in England to go out and play.
“It can be so beneficial for mental health to be out in the fresh air and get some space, especially in these challenging times.
“In particular, we are also grateful for the support and encouragement of the more established lady professional golfers for supporting this event.
“Through their participation they will encourage support for their sport and show the flame for ladies’ golf will not be easily extinguished.
“Golf has given me so much. As most of my followers know, I had my struggles early in my career, but at least I did not have to face a pandemic.
“I was still able to play. To be denied the opportunity to work or to play for months on end is very challenging, both physically and mentally.
“And that is why Kate and I feel it is so important that we want to try to do something about it.”
The LET is supporting the Rose Ladies Series and thanked Justin and Kate Rose for their incredibly generous support of women’s golf.