2016 ladies’ golf preview: Looking ahead to RioJanuary, 2016
For the first time since 1904, golf will be part of the Olympics; meanwhile the Woburn’s Marquess course will play host to the Women’s British Open
2016 SUMMER OLYMPICS
Reserva de Marapendi, August 18-21
Golf has twice been played at the Olympics. The first time, in 1900, the women’s division consisted of just nine holes of strokeplay while the men played 36. Four years later there was no women’s tournament. This year 60 women will play 72 holes of strokeplay, though, sadly, there is no team element which would have made it something different.
As things stand, England’s Charley Hull and Catriona Matthew, of Scotland, will represent GB. Otherwise each country is only allowed four players, so expect some big-name Koreans and Americans to miss out.
RICOH WOMEN’S BRITISH OPEN
The Marquess, Woburn, July 28-31
For the first time since 2008, the championship moves away from the seaside to Woburn’s most modern course. The event has been to Woburn nine times previously but always played over the Duke’s – and that was before it was afforded Major status.
It marks, neatly, the 40th anniversary of the competition as well as 40 years since Woburn opened. All eyes will be on Charley Hull, who will be playing at her home course, and Inbee Park, who completed the career Grand Slam at Turnberry.
Mission Hills, March 31-April 3
This will be the second year under its new name as we slowly begin to stop calling it the Kraft. It might have had a new name, which seeped into our consciousness through innovations like these tee markers and various backdrops on tee boxes, but the winner was an old one, so to speak, as Brittany Lincicome beat Stacy Lewis in a play-off.
This will be its 34th year as a Major championship and our home nations are still to provide a winner.
Evian Les Bains, September 15-18
There will be plenty of Lydia Ko Major victories but this will always be the first. Last September, the New Zealander went into Sunday two off the lead and then birdied five holes on the back nine in a closing 63.
The records to tumble that week included being the youngest winner of an LPGA Major and the youngest Major champion since Young Tom Morris in 1868. Plus that 63 was a record lowest final round in the history of women’s Majors. Not a bad start.
Dundonald Links, June 21-25
This trophy been played for since 1893 and previous winners include our own Mickey Walker (twice), the BBC’s Maureen Madill and, more recently, Solheim Cup stars Catriona Matthew, Carlota Ciganda, Anna Nordqvist (also twice a losing finalist) and Azahara Munoz.
From 2010, England (Kelly Tidy, Lauren Taylor and Georgia Hall)and Northern Ireland (Stephanie Meadow) contributed all four winners. This time around the Championship heads to a new venue on the Ayrshire coastline. Dundonald is Loch Lomond’s sister course and sits near Troon.
Dun Laoghaire, June 10-12
Twenty years after visiting Killarney, we’re back in Ireland. The squad — England’s Gemma Clews, Alice Hewson, Meghan MacLaren, Inci Mehmet and Rochelle Morris, (Bronte Law and Charlotte Thomas were unavailable), Ireland’s Leona Maguire and Olivia Mehaffey, of Ireland, and Chloe Williams, of Wales — recently visited the course in preparation for the matches which have gone America’s way in eight of the previous nine meetings.
Australia Women’s Open The Grange – February 25-28
HSBC Women’s Champions Sentosa – March 3-6
KPMG Women’s PGA Championship Sahalee Country Club – June 9-12
US Women’s Open CordeValle – July 7-10
Ladies Scottish Open Dundonald Links – July 22-24
Home International Matches Conwy – August 3-5
Ladies European Masters TBA – August 25-28
Swedish Open TBA – September 8-11
Senior Home Internationals Alyth – September 27-29
Dubai Ladies Masters Emirates – December 7-10