Mickey Walker on her favourite Women's British Open
What a treat golf fans have in store when the Ricoh Women’s British Open returns to the Ailsa course at the Trump Turnberry Resort for only the second time in its 39-year history.
Back in 2002 when the championship was last played at Turnberry, Weetabix were the title sponsor and Karrie Webb was crowned champion for the third time, winning with a 15-under-par total.
Having been a participant in the Women’s British Open up until the early 1990s and involved as a commentator ever since, it is difficult to select just a few of my favourite championships.
Inevitably I am drawn to the championships which have been won by British players, so my most memorable one would be 2004 at Sunningdale when England’s Karen Stupples started her final round with an eagle followed by an albatross and after that unforgettable start somehow managed to keep herself together to hold off her closest challengers and win.
The joy that emanated from Karen after her win and in all the post-match photos of her with the trophy would make anyone smile. I have rarely seen anyone enjoy a victory more!
That one would be very closely followed by Scotland’s Catriona Matthews win at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2009 when she played quite brilliantly to claim the title just a couple of months after giving birth to her second daughter, Sophie.
That aside, Catriona led from the second round and never gave up her lead. I always think that that takes a lot of mental strength, especially when you’re the home crowd’s favourite!
I do have to say that two years ago Stacy Lewis’s victory at St. Andrews, when she finished three, three, was quietly spectacular! How many people would have paid fortunes to have those scores on the final holes at the Home of Golf in the final round of a Major championship!
Turnberry, or the Trump Turnberry Resort as it’s now known since Donald Trump bought it in April 2014, is possibly the best liked of all the Open Championship venues. I suppose that in total I’ve stayed and played at Turnberry probably a dozen times in my career. I think it is the setting that is so special, but some of the holes are memorable too.
Donald Trump is really excited about his latest acquisition From what Mark Townsend outlined in last month’s Lady Golfer, the course is set to become an even tougher test of golf with an eight-hole stretch along the coast making the most of the stunning coastline. These changes will all take place from October onwards and will surely only enhance Turnberry as a future Open Championship venue and a place at the very top of everyone’s bucket list.
By all accounts Donald Trump is really excited about his latest acquisition. He has already spent millions on improving the locker rooms, professional’s shop and clubhouse which officially reopened a few weeks ago.
The hotel is currently undergoing a massive makeover too. No one can argue with Donald Trump’s investment and vision to improve an already iconic venue. What a long way Turnberry has come since it was owned by British Rail some 60-odd years ago!
Women’s golf has come such a long way since the Hitachi sponsored British Women’s Open of 1984 – when horrendous weather, poor TV timings and a runaway winner contributed to a truly disastrous event.
There is now strength in depth among the best players in the world which is getting even deeper with each passing year.
There is a fierce rivalry between the top three players in the world, Lydia Ko, Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis, but on any given week any one of the top 50 or even lower down in the rankings could win. There is a vibrancy and excitement about women’s golf which has grown out of all recognition from when I turned pro in 1974.
I can’t wait to see which player comes out on top at the end of 72 holes, or maybe more on August 2.
Be sure to get to Turnberry if you can – or at the very least watch it on television.