A number of Europe’s successful Solheim Cup team are expected to return to Scotland later this year to compete in the WPGA International Invitational Matchplay (September 7-9) at the prestigious Gleneagles Hotel.
Speaking at a Gleneagles press conference to announce the venue for the WPGA Matchplay, Tim Howland, Chief Executive of the Evian Ladies European Tour (LET), confirmed that the course and prize money would attract the very best players on the Evian Tour.
‘There will be a minimum £400,000 on offer at the WPGA International Matchplay, and with it taking place on The PGA Centenary Course I have no doubt we will see a number of world’s leading players in action at Gleneagles,’ said Howland.
‘Matchplay is an exciting format and popular with our members and the public alike. It makes a pleasant change from the usual strokeplay events on the Evian Tour while Gleneagles is one of the finest venues in world golf – the competitors will be very well looked after.
‘Already we spoken to a number of leading players, including most of those who competed in The Solheim Cup. The response has been extremely positive. ‘We hope to announce some of the competitors over the next month or so, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank The Gleneagles Hotel for welcoming the Evian Tour back to Scotland.’
Gleneagles hosted the WPGA Championship of Europe from 1996 to 1999 before McDonald’s withdrew its sponsorship. The 1999 WPGA Championship was won by former world number one Laura Davies, who beat Sweden’s Maria Hjorth in a playoff.
The WPGA International Matchplay will be promoted by the WPGA and The Sportsmasters Network (TSN), the promoters of the inaugural TSN Ladies World Cup Golf in Ireland last season. It will feature 32 players, with 16 matches being played on day one. In a break from the traditional format, each of the 16 winners will then be required to play another 72 holes of matchplay over the weekend before a champion emerges on Sunday afternoon.
‘The PGA is delighted to include this WPGA matchplay event in the 2001 calendar and it should help to further strengthen the Evian Tour schedule,’ said Sandy Jones, PGA Chief Executive.
‘I would like to welcome TSN’s support as the event promoter and I am sure we will witness another successful and popular women’s event at Gleneagles in September.’
These sentiments were echoed by Peter Lederer, Managing Director of The Gleneagles Hotel.
Lederer added: ‘I am delighted by today’s announcement and welcome the WPGA back to Gleneagles and look forward to re-establishing our long-term links with the Evian Tour.
‘It is excellent news for all parties involved, including golf enthusiasts in Scotland and further afield, and reinforces Gleneagles’ position as a major international golf venue.’
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