It is 100 days until the AIG Women’s Open is held at Carnoustie from August 19-22 so to mark the countdown we look back over the history of this long-established golf championship.
A favourite competition for both players and golf fans, the AIG Women’s Open is “without a doubt, the one you want to win” (according to Scotland’s Catriona Matthew OBE, who won in 2009) and is open to all qualified amateur and professional women golfers.
First established in 1976 by the Ladies Golf Union, the AIG Women’s Open is one of five Major championships in women’s golf and celebrates its 45th anniversary this year.
1976 – The Ladies’ British Open Championship (as it was first known) is launched. It is first played in Fulford, York and won by amateur golfer Jenny Lee-Smith, after the Ladies Amateur Stroke Play Championship wanted to include professional players for the first time.
1979 – Three years after it was first established, the Smyth Salver is introduced as a prize and is awarded to the lowest scoring amateur player returning a score for 72 holes. The Smyth Salver is still presented to this day.
1994 – The Championship becomes an official LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) tour event.
2001 – The Championship is recognised for the first time as a major championship on the women’s tour marking its 25th anniversary.
2009 – Scot Catriona Matthew – who has been called “one of Scottish golf’s modern day success stories” – wins the Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes with a final score of three-under-par.
2011 – Carnoustie first hosts the Championship where Yani Tseng saw off legends of the event in Sophie Gustafson and Catriona Matthew to defend her title in triumphant style. This was also the year that Sophia Popov, 2020 AIG Women’s Open Champion, made her debut in the major.
2018 –The R&A unveils its Women in Golf Charter to increase the number of women and girls playing golf and encourage more opportunities for women to work in the industry.
2019 – Hinako Shibuno, the player known as the ‘Smiling Cinderella’, provided a fairy-tale finish to the AIG Women’s Open to claim her maiden Major title in her first tournament outside her native Japan.
2020 – In a year where professional sporting events were being cancelled all over the world due to Covid-19, the AIG Women’s Open was played without spectators at Royal Troon. It was won by Sophia Popov, whose story of perseverance to overcome Lyme disease inspired golfers all around the world.
2021 – This year the AIG Women’s Open will be held at Carnoustie on August 19-22. In the last 45 years, and more recently since 2001 when it was recognised as a ‘major’, the AIG Women’s Open and The R&A (through its Women in Golf Charter) have inspired a new generation of junior golfers.
Today, The R&A launches an exciting new initiative in its efforts to continue to inspire the next generation of golfers and ensure that golf continues to thrive for many years to come.
The Golden Ticket
This year, The R&A is adding to the excitement for the AIG Women’s Open – and continuing to inspire the next generation of golfers – with the launch of a brand new Golden Ticket giveaway.
There are so many fantastic and dedicated young golfers across Scotland, and the giveaway – launching May 11, exactly 100 days before the Championship tees off – will see 100 junior players receive a coveted golden ticket.
Those who are lucky enough to secure a golden ticket will be invited to an exclusive masterclass on Monday 16th August when they will receive top tips from some of the world’s best players, as well as enjoy an exclusive behind the scenes look at the Championship.
Offering a chance to learn from some of the best players, the giveaway will be open to junior players across Scotland. Young players interested should get in touch with their club in the first instance, to find out more.
But don’t be too disappointed if you don’t manage to get a Golden Ticket; this is the first year the giveaway is running and there will be opportunities to participate in future initiatives over the coming years.
Plus, all young people (those under 16 years of age) can attend the AIG Women’s Open for free (so long as they’re accompanying an adult with a ticket).
The AIG Women’s Open is taking place at Carnoustie, 19-22 August 2021. You can buy tickets and find out more here.