Karrie Webb is disappointed the Gold Coast-based professional golf tournament which inspired her as a youngster and which she won a record seven times is battling tough financial times.
Australian great Webb says it's unfortunate recent government funding cuts have taken a toll on the Ladies Masters at Royal Pines which is expected to be reduced to a three-round event (February 1-3), with a significant drop in prizemoney.
Long-time promoter Bob Tuohy is expected to make an announcement on the 20-year-old tournament's future next week.
First played at Palm Meadows in 1990, it has featured several current and future world No.1 players including Sweden's Annika Sorenstam (winner in 1995-2002-2004), Mexico's Lorena Ochoa (runner-up in 2002), Taiwanese superstar Yani Tseng (2011) and Webb, the seven-times major champion.
"I clearly remember watching the Ladies Masters in 1990 and the impact it had on me at the time," said Webb, who did much to boost the tournament's profile internationally.
"Queensland Events have been terrific supporters over the years and I hope that they and corporate Australia can find a way to invest in such a popular and established event, especially with golf returning to the Olympics in 2016."
Despite the difficult times Tuohy remains committed to keeping the tournament on the national and international stage.
He has had talks with a possible new co-sponsor since admitting last month his popular event was "under a cloud".
He has also had more talks with Events Queensland.
"No ink has been put on paper yet," said Tuohy who is hopeful the tournament will go ahead with Ladies European Tour (LET) status.