There is always something special about a Major week and none more so than the AIG Women’s Open, where 144 of the world’s best look to etch their name in the history books, following in the footsteps of former champions including Laura Davies, Annika Sörenstam, Catriona Matthew, Georgia Hall and most recently, Hinako Shibuno.
Royal Troon offers that special chance and, as the first women’s major to ever be played at the prestigious venue, this week feels more unique than ever. As well as the fact that there will again be no spectators lining the fairways – in what is fast-becoming the ‘new norm’ for golf.
The field includes as many as 20 major champions, 37 Solheim Cup stars and eight past champions with the total list of players boasting 100s of LPGA and LET victories between them, there is no shortage of talent on show battling it out for the $4.5million prize fund.
There are nine LET members from seven different nationalities making their debut in the prestigious championship, with Sweden’s Joanna Gustavsson heading the qualifiers last week at The Renaissance Golf Club.
The 27-year-old may not have played Royal Troon before but admitted to having watched another Swede’s exploits at the famed links.
“I don’t know that much about Troon but it was a big goal of mine to get in to the AIG Women’s Open. As a Swede I have watched a re-run of the Stenson vs. Mickelson Open quite a few times, he made the course look easier than I am sure it is.”
As per last week, her Father will be on the bag as they hope to imitate Georgia Hall’s winning combination with her Dad. He said, “I might have 45 years of experience as an electrician, but I have one weeks’ experience as a caddie. We are looking forward to the occasion.”
Also making her debut is India’s Tvesa Malik, who joins compatriots Aditi Ashok and Diksha Dagar in the field – an historic first of three Indians playing in a major championship.
Just like Gustavsson, the 24-year-old has a helping hand of her own in her debut AIG Women’s Open in the form of LET member Kiran Matharu, who looped for her last week in East Lothian.
“Kiran is from Leeds and knows a lot about playing in Scotland in the wind. She helped me a lot at the Renaissance Golf Club about understanding the golf course and picking the right shot.”
“I’ve been practising low shots and I’ve been working on being able to move the ball against the wind, which seems very important. I’ve done lots of chipping, practising bump-and-runs which I never use any other week”.
Closer to home, Scotland’ Michele Thomson makes her long-awaited debut at the age of 32, after several near misses.
“I already have three or four player badges because I’ve been reserve several times after missing out in a play-off at the final qualifier.”
She continued “It’ a dream to play my first one at home, it’s extra special. I’ve always wanted to play in a Women’s Open in Scotland. It would have been nice to have crowds, but I’m delighted to be playing.”