The 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles will be played from 13-15 September. The date, which will be a fortnight earlier than the Gleneagles Ryder Cup of 2014, was announced on Tuesday night by Paul Bush, director of events at VisitScotland. What is more, it would seem that the women’s match means every bit as much to Scotland as the Ryder Cup itself, with Bush adding that it is the wish of all concerned “to take women’s golf to the next level.”
Heather Daly-Donofrio, the LPGA’s chief communications and operations officer who was in Scotland for the announcement, said she is convinced that would apply. “Any time you take the match to a historic venue like this it helps raise the profile of our game.”
Plenty of thought went into the September date and Bush is satisfied that they have arrived at the optimum week to ensure that the match is “an unreserved success.” Above all else, the choice will allow the fixture to be “the highest-profile event taking place in Europe and the US – and from a global perspective.”
Even before this year’s match is played at Des Moines, Iowa, the preparation of the PGA Centenary Course is looming large in the minds of Gleneagles’ greenskeeping team. With all the major changes having been made ahead of the Ryder Cup, it will be mostly down to fine-tuning.
“Over the next few months,” said Scott Fenwick, Gleneagles’ golf courses and estates manager, “we will create a number of scenarios regarding, say, the length of the rough and additional changes to runoffs around greens.”
All through, they will work closely with the European Solheim Cup captain, a position in which Scotland’s Catriona Matthew is expected to be confirmed following the Des Moines match in August. Matthew, who was announced as a VisitScotland ambassador at a Tuesday night dinner, would have a big say when it comes to selecting from each of the five teeing areas on the PGA Centenary Course.
This past Ricoh Women’s British Open champion is a vice captain to Annika Sörenstam for the Des Moines match and is hoping that she might succeed in being a player as well as a vice captain. To date, her 2017 season has not been the best but the 47-year-old is well aware that the time to come up with the goods will be once the summer run of major championships gets under way.
“The first six places in the team are probably more or less set but there are still six more to play for. We’ll just have to see what happens, though I’ll only want to play if I’m playing well enough. Hopefully I’ve been around for long enough to know what I should do.”
On the subject of the four-stroke penalty which almost certainly cost Lexi Thompson a victory in the ANA Inspiration, Matthew said that she is not in favour of TV viewers having a say on rules infractions – “and certainly not the next day.” In her eyes, a two-stroke penalty would have been enough.
She felt that the LPGA had handled the situation as well as they could, though she would sooner they had taken the player to one side instead of speaking to her in mid-fairway and in front of the TV cameras.
On the other side of the coin, she cited that old saying about “no publicity being bad publicity.” Here, she was not just thinking of what happened on the day as the extent to which the situation had continued to make news during The Masters.