AS the Tours battle to return to a semblance of normality in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, ladies’ golf was handed a massive shot in the arm this week with the announcement of the AIG Women’s British Open at Royal Troon Golf Club in South Ayrshire, southwest of Glasgow from Aug 20-23.
The news came from the Royal & Ancient Golf Club (R&A), the custodians of the tournament.
A key date on the LPGA Tour’s calendar, the Women’s British Open will be played without spectators the R&A said – just as almost all other tournament sports that have managed to return in the
Golf was one of the first disciplines to bounce back when in the middle of May the Korea LPGA Tour successfully held their KLPGA Championship.
The US PGA Tour followed suit with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, and three more events before this week’s Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio.
The European Tour got started again with the Austrian Open at Diamond Country Club on Thursday. It is a tournament that doubles up as a Challenge Tour event as well.
There are a couple or so of other Tours due to make a comeback this week, and in the near future, including the Asian Tour, which has earmarked the Shinhan Donghae Open at Bear’s Best Cheongna Golf Club in Korea from Sept 10 to 13 as their first event since the shutdown in March.
For the women though, the Women’s British Open is a massive boost and it will be looked forward to by millions across the globe.
It will be without spectators, but will still follow strict health and safety protocols. This is a prerequisite to being held, and so too it is for the other tournaments scheduled or rescheduled by the LPGA Tour.
The Malaysian Ladies Golf Association president Tunku Puteri Tunku Puan Sri Jawahir Almarhum Tuanku Ja’afar applauded the move and said it was “a good for women’s golf – to be able to host the Women’s Open at this point of time.
“I hope the SOPs (standard operating procedures) of the new norm will be adhered to in order to prevent the same situation that occurred in the US where several players tested positive for Covid-19 on the (US PGA) mens’ Tour.”
Touching on the local scene, she added: “Most of our top women’s golfers, who are on golf scholarships, are back in Malaysia and awaiting to go back to the US to continue their studies and play on their own circuits.
“Our second string players based in Malaysia still need to gain more exposure to be able to catch up with the elite players.
“The disparity is still quite wide. Our next target is to groom more girls to fill the void and this requires us to secure more funding.
“This is the cycle which we face time and time again.”
The LPGA Tour get their season restarted with the inaugural
three-day LPGA Drive On Championship at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohia from July 31 to Aug 2.
That will be followed by the Marathon Classic from Aug 6 to 9, also at Inverness Club, where
Sei Young Kim is expected to defend her title.
The action then crosses the Atlantic for the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick from Aug 13 to 16. Mi Jung Hur won the title last season.
This will precede the big one – the Women’s British Open, so famously won by Japan’s ‘Smiling Cinderella’ Hinako Shibuno last year.
That was her first Major crown and it came in her irst tournament outside her home country.
If all goes well, with no further delays in scheduling, it should prove a timely addion to the women’s game next month.
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