AIG Ladies’s Open 2022: the perfect girls on this planet within the once-men-only golf enclave

Former Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew hails from close by Berwick
Place: Muirfield, Gullane, Scotland At your house: Thursday 3 August – Sunday 7 August
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Former Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew resides proof that for a lady who has been concerned in earlier Muirfield majors, she would in all probability have picked up the trash or introduced a scoreboard.

However instances have modified, even within the ultra-conservative world of the Honorable Firm of Edinburgh Golfers.

This week this unique membership, primarily based in wonderful East Lothian hyperlinks, hosts the perfect feminine gamers on this planet as they compete within the AIG Ladies’s Open.

Till 2017, Muirfield was a males’s-only golf enclave and the membership’s preliminary failure to seek out the two-thirds majority required to alter its structure and permit girls had seen it canceled from the boys’s Open rotation.

The lack of this standing concentrated minds and a second poll proved extra progressive, permitting girls to hitch for the primary time. Muirfield remains to be ready to be awarded a males’s seventeenth Open, having final held one in 2013, however is again on the candidate course checklist.

And, whereas the standard Claret Jug shouldn’t be at stake, arguably the fairest hyperlink take a look at in Scotland is to stage the massively profitable golf once more.

On Thursday morning, Scotland’s Matthew will hit the primary tee shot within the final feminine main of the yr and little doubt the thoughts of the 2009 champion will return to her first visits to Muirfield.

They voluntarily concerned rubbish assortment and transportation of the scoreboard to the 1992 championship.

“I bear in mind one of many instances I scored was a horrible time,” recalled Matthew. “I used to be truly fortunate sufficient to be in John Prepare dinner’s group on the final day [Sir Nick] Faldo gained and John Prepare dinner, I feel, missed that little putt on the 17 “.

Muirfield has been operating Open since 1892 however, becoming a member of venues equivalent to Royal Lytham, Carnoustie, St Andrews Outdated Course, Royal Birkdale and Turnberry, it’s now additionally residence to one of many largest girls’s tournaments on this planet.

“I feel it is nice to come back right here,” added Matthew. “Clearly within the final in all probability 10 years, we have began going to all of the locations within the Open the place, within the final 50, 60 years, you’ve got seen males play.

“And I feel that elevates this championship – and now we will programs that persons are used to seeing. I feel it is good for us.”

Matthew, a local of close by North Berwick, added: “For me personally, clearly residing and rising alongside the best way, I by no means imagined enjoying a serious this near residence.”

At Carnoustie final yr, the 52-year-old gleefully watched Swedish Anna Nordqvist win which helped gasoline confidence in Matthew’s aspect for a profitable Solheim Cup protection later that summer season.

Now the Swede is absorbing the temper earlier than attempting to maintain her title this week. “I’ve heard lots about Muirfield,” mentioned Nordqvist, 35.

“I do know the blokes have performed right here over time, so I feel it is a tremendous alternative for us to have Muirfield added to our Open rotation.

“It is actually cool to see the pictures. I have been wanting ahead to this week for a very long time.”

The primary contenders are unanimous of their pleasure that Muirfield is organizing the match. “I used to be extraordinarily excited to be attending this occasion this yr,” mentioned Olympic champion Nelly Korda.

“I knew the story and in addition the truth that we have been going to be the primary girls’s match right here was fairly superb.

“So I used to be extra excited to truly be right here and to have the ability to play on this golf course and take up all of it, in addition to the historical past of this place.”

American Korda has made nice progress since getting back from a blood clot in her arm that price her a spot within the opening main of the yr, Chevron in March. The 24-year-old subsequently entered two main high 10s, together with a share of eighth place on the latest Evian Championship.

That occasion was gained by Canadian resurgent Brooke Henderson, one other outstanding star keen to focus on this week’s historic significance. “Enjoying this yr actually means lots to us all,” mentioned the 24-year-old world quantity 5.

“It is simply proof that ladies’s gaming continues to develop, bag sizes are growing, we’re extra on the TV community and we’re enjoying in these higher locations.

“It is only a actually enjoyable time to be part of girls’s golf as a result of it is rising a lot and we really feel like we’re making a distinction for future generations.”

And people younger individuals who volunteered this week, maybe taking a primary probability to stroll the sacred Muirfield garden, can achieve this so confidently that if they’ll obtain a sufficiently excessive customary, nothing will cease them from competing for the larger prizes sooner or later. .

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