Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Officer for the Symetra Tour, joined Talking Golf with Ann Liguori on Sunday to discuss the Symetra Tour as a gateway to the LPGA Tour, the development of women’s golf on a global scale and much more.
“Seeing a player compete over twenty-plus tournaments, getting those reps and experience, we are identifying the next generation of talent that’s going to be successful when they get to the LPGA Tour,” said Nichols. “A player on the Symetra Tour can play as long as she maintains her status. We take a look at Mo Martin—she played with us for five or six years, but she always made enough money to fuel her dream. A few years after graduating she won the AIG Women’s British Open, a major on the LPGA Tour.”
For 70 years, the LPGA has been working to grow women’s golf. A perfect example is the Symetra Tour. Nichols was named the Chief Business Officer of the Symetra Tour in July 2012 and since then the official qualifying tour of the LPGA has grown from 15 events and total prize money of $1.62 million in 2013, to 23 tournaments and a record $4.0 million in purses last season. These numbers have helped to grow the game domestically, while a recent partnership between the LPGA and Ladies European Tour (LET) strives to continue expanding the brand as golf’s global tour.
“Commissioner Mike Whan likes to say that whenever he talks to the Founders, they always mention to do ‘whatever we can do as the LPGA to help grow women’s golf, not just in the United States but around the world,’” Nichols said. “We were able to partner with the LET with the idea to grow their tournament schedule and we added nine more events. It was going to be an incredible season we put together.
“There is so much attention being built around women’s empowerment, diversity, inclusion and finding ways to empower young girls or women in business. The LPGA has become a platform for businesses to live out their values, and support women’s sports [while supporting our players and tournaments].”