Royal Liverpool Golf Club at Hoylake in Wirral is today announced as the host venue for the 2012 Ricoh Women's British Open, the first time that the Club has hosted this prestigious Championship.
The Royal Liverpool Golf Club, also known as Hoylake, is the second oldest seaside links golf course in England. Built on a racecourse in 1869, this famous course has played host to some of golf's most historical moments, including holding the inaugural men's amateur championship in 1885, the first international match in 1902 between Scotland and England and in 1921, the first international match between Great Britain and the United States, later known as the Walker Cup.
Between 1897 and 2006, Hoylake has hosted the men's Open Championship 11 thrilling times, including the 1930 famous victory of Bobby Jones who went on to win a grand slam that year. More recently, after a gap of nearly 40 years, the Open Championship returned to Hoylake in 2006 with Tiger Woods triumphing during a week of unusually benign weather.
Ominously the club's website highlights Bernard Darwin's famous quote; "Hoylake, blown upon by mighty winds, breeder of mighty champions" and there is no doubt that the course will test the strategic strengths for which the world's best women are so renown. During his 2006 victory, where for once the winds did not blow, Tiger Woods' respect for the penal bunkers was such that he struck his driver only once during the tournament.
The Championship Committee has also announced a new date for 2012 ensuring the tournament does not clash with the London Olympics. It will now take place at the later date of the 13th to 16th September. Once again, the Committee has triumphed in its quest to hold the most international Women's Major in golf on one of the world's best courses.
Shona Malcolm, the Ladies' Golf Union's CEO explained, “We are absolutely delighted to be introducing Royal Liverpool Golf Club at Hoylake to the Ricoh British Women's Open course rotation. The Ladies' Golf Union is committed to playing the Women's British Open at the best British courses and it is a great coup for the top players to be heading to such an esteemed venue. Adding this news to previously announced Carnoustie for 2011 and as well our return to St Andrews in 2013 for a second time, we have a thrilling few years ahead of us.”
Kieran O'Brien, Chairman of Council of Royal Liverpool Golf Club added, “The Ricoh Women's British Open has gone from strength to strength in recent years and is truly one of the great sporting events held in the UK today. We are very proud of our Club's rich heritage and the many memorable golfing moments we have played host to over the years and are happy that we will now be playing such an important role in the women's game too. We are thoroughly looking forward to working with the LGU and IMG in 2012.”
The staging of the 2012 Championship has been made possible not only by the strong support of Royal Liverpool Golf Club and its Members, but also by Wirral Council which has committed to providing significant infrastucture and operational support together with funding from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) which should to ensure that the 2012 Championship is just as successful as The Open played at Hoylake in 2006.
The partnership formed to bring the Ricoh Women's British Open to Wirral proves once again how forward thinking the Council is and how it has realised just how significant major sporting events are to the region.
Cllr Steve Foulkes, Leader of Wirral Council added, “This is fantastic news for Wirral and is further evidence of how we are determined to build on the legacy of ‘The People's Open' in 2006. By hosting the Ricoh Women's British Open we will attract new visitors to the Borough as well as returning golf fans who enjoyed themselves with us four years ago. Such a prestigious golf championship will provide not only Wirral but the whole of the Northwest with a huge boost and we look forward to welcoming the world's best female golfers to Wirral in 2012.”
Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, said, “This is fantastic news, not just for Royal Liverpool and Wirral, but for the whole of the Northwest. The return of the Women's Open to the region in 2012 underlines the great golfing that we have here in the Northwest and justifies the claim that we are England's Golf Coast. We have a whole host of international championships across the region over the next few years, including the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2012, which will ensure that the spotlight will be on England's Golf Coast.”
This announcement comes on the back of another major announcement made during the 2009 Championship, won by Scotland's Catriona Matthew, that Ricoh will continue as title sponsors until at least 2013.
Simon Sasaki, Chairman and CEO, Ricoh Europe PLC commented, "The Ricoh Women's British Open is an excellent platform for Ricoh to combine its sponsorship activities with its overall business goal of helping customers move their business forward. It also aligns with the brand attributes of Ricoh; Innovation, Expertise and Sustainability. This is magnified at the Tournament by the professional players, whose performances get better and better, year on year. We are delighted to hear that Royal Liverpool Golf Club will be hosting the Championship in 2012. I've heard so much about the course and remember vividly the magnificent Open Championship played there in 2006. We look forward to 2012 and being part of another significant moment in the history of this great Tournament."
The Ricoh Women's British Open was founded by the Ladies' Golf Union in 1976 and is staged in conjunction with IMG, the world's largest sports marketing company. The event has been co-sanctioned by the LPGA and LET since 1994 and gained Major status in 2001.