Less than a year on from hosting the “best ever” Ryder Cup, Scotland has reiterated its desire to stage the world’s biggest golf events and to promote equality throughout the game by submitting a bid to host The 2019 Solheim Cup at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire.
Pitting the best female professional golfers in Europe against their United States counterparts, in an event mirroring The Ryder Cup, the event attracts a huge worldwide audience and media profile.
And following on from what is considered by some to be the best-ever staging in the history of The Ryder Cup, Scotland has vowed to continue that trend by taking The Solheim Cup to new heights in 2019.
The bid has been led by VisitScotland’s Events Directorate and backed by The Scottish Government. Jamie Hepburn, the Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, passed the bidding documents to 16-year-old ClubGolf graduate Katriona Taylor on Thursday and today, along with former Ladies European Tour player Catherine Panton-Lewis, the bid was submitted to the Ladies European Tour on behalf of Scotland.
This reflects Scotland’s commitment to legacy and the future of golf through the success of the innovative ClubGolf junior programme and also its history and prestige in the game with Bridge of Allan-born Panton-Lewis being a founder member of the Ladies European Tour.
First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, said: “Last year Scotland showed what it can do on the world-stage when it not only held, but significantly enhanced, some of the biggest events in the world of sport. The 2014 Ryder Cup was a magnificent spectacle and will be remembered for many years to come, while the XX Commonwealth Games was another huge success story for our country. We want to do the same thing with The Solheim Cup in 2019.
“Scotland is now renowned as a world-class tourism and events destination. Not only would hosting The Solheim Cup in Scotland, the Home of Golf, provide a huge boost to the profile of this fantastic event, it would continue to promote equality across the game and show that golf in Scotland, where it began, is a sport for all after the successful hosting of The Ryder Cup.”
Following a detailed selection process led by VisitScotland, and involving The Scottish Government, the Scottish Ladies Golf Association, Scottish Golf Union, Transport Scotland and current Scottish LET professionals, Gleneagles was identified as the ideal bidding partner for the event, given the world-renowned status of the venue and the outstanding success of The 2014 Ryder Cup.
Bernard Murphy, Gleneagles’ Managing Director, said: “Hosting the Ryder Cup was a great opportunity for Gleneagles and Perthshire, and an experience none of us will ever forget. The positive impact it had on tourism and Scotland’s global reputation should not be underestimated. We would be truly honoured to welcome The Solheim Cup to Gleneagles, and look forward to working with VisitScotland and The Scottish Government to bring another world-class golfing event to the area.”
Catriona Matthew, Scotland’s number one ranked female golfer and a player in seven European Solheim Cup teams, added: “The Solheim Cup is a special event, which is growing in profile and stature with each passing staging. I’ve been fortunate to play in seven European teams but I have no doubt that a Solheim Cup in 2019 at Gleneagles would be the biggest and best yet and further help to enhance the stature of the event and women’s golf as a whole.
“Golf in Scotland is a national past-time and the Scottish crowds would come out to support The Solheim Cup in droves. Equally, both players and media love coming to golf events in Scotland. It is the Home of Golf and there is always that something extra every time you tee it up in a competition here.”
The event, to be played in August or September 2019, would be expected to attract around 30,000 spectators per day to the Perthshire venue including a strong contingent travelling from outwith Scotland and from overseas.
Katriona Taylor, who plays at Crieff Golf Club and is also a ClubGolf Development Player at Gleneagles, received Scotland’s bidding documents from Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health before travelling to the Ladies European Tour headquarters at The Buckinghamshire Golf Club to hand them in personally.
She said: “It is such an honour to be asked to hand in Scotland’s bid for The 2019 Solheim Cup. It would be such an inspiration for me for the event to come to my home country and to Gleneagles, where I attend the ClubGolf Development Centre. ClubGolf has really helped me get into golf and progress quickly and I hope that if The Solheim Cup does come to Scotland that it will inspire lots more children to take up the game.”
Katriona was joined at The Buckinghamshire by Catherine Panton-Lewis, a 14-time winner on the Ladies European Tour and winner of the very first Order of Merit.
Panton-Lewis, who is also the daughter of three-time Ryder Cup player John Panton, added: “I am delighted to help deliver Scotland’s bid document for The 2019 Solheim Cup. The event, and the women’s game as a whole, has enjoyed an enhanced media profile in recent years but taking it to Gleneagles and Scotland, which was a great venue for The Ryder Cup, would undoubtedly help to further elevate its status on the world stage as the leading event in women’s sport. I very much hope to see The Solheim Cup staged in Scotland in 2019.”
Scotland’s bid for The 2019 Solheim Cup has been led by VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, which has internationally-renowned experience in bidding for and delivering major events in Scotland.
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “Our Events Directorate has gained a strong reputation throughout the world for bringing major events to Scotland and helping delivering them to the highest of standards. We are delighted to have led this bid on behalf of Scotland and The Scottish Government and look forward to helping deliver a world-class Solheim Cup in 2019 in the same way as we did with The Ryder Cup in 2014.”