Scotland's Catriona Matthew will defend her title at the 2010 Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale Golf Club from 29thJuly to 1st August.
Catriona will be joined by the winner of the year's first Major, Yani Tseng, and Michelle Wie, who won the Ricoh Women's British Open Amateur Medal in 2005 at Royal Birkdale Golf Club.
Catriona triumphed at the 2009 Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club only 11 weeks after the birth of her second daughter, Sophie, and just three weeks before her 40th birthday. In recognition of her extraordinary win, Matthew was recently selected by her fellow LPGA players as the recipient of the Heather Farr Player Award which honours an LPGA player who has demonstrated determination, perseverance and spirit in fulfilling her goals as a player. She was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List and was also named 2009 Ladies European Tour Player of the Year.
Yani won her second Major title earlier this month at the 2010 Kraft Nabisco Championship after a final round 68 which included a pace-setting eagle at the second hole. She held off the intimidating challenge of a number of Major champions coming out at the top of a final leaderboard where 10 of the top 14 had one or more Major titles on their C.V.
Michelle Wie, who won her first LPGA title in Mexico last year, is looking forward to a return to Royal Birkdale having finished tied third there in 2005 and was the youngest Amateur Medal winner. Five years on since impressing the knowledgeable Birkdale crowd, she turned twenty in October, making her one of the youngest members of the 2009 US Solheim Cup team.
Catriona said, "I am really excited to be defending my title at Birkdale. I have had a remarkable 12 months since the birth of Sophie which would probably have been more than enough excitement on it's own. Add that to winning my first Major and I feel very fortunate."
She continued, "I certainly didn't arrive at Lytham last year with high expectations but I was still putting a lot of pressure on myself as I knew I needed a good finish to have a hope of qualifying for the European Solheim Cup team. This year will obviously be different with the pressures that accompany any defending champion but I am looking forward to it. What a wonderful position to be in and I know I will feel enormous pride when I am announced on that first tee as the defending Champion."
Yani, whose latest Major triumph has taken her to Number Two on the Rolex World Rankings added, "Winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship has given me a lot of confidence so now I am very excited for the rest of the year's Majors. I enjoyed playing links golf last year and am looking forward to playing at Royal Birkdale for my first time."
Michelle Wie is certainly looking forward to returning to the course where she enjoyed her best Ricoh Women's British Open finish and recorded the lowest 72-hole score for an amateur in any Major championship. She enthused, "I have great memories of playing at Royal Birkdale and returning is definitely going to be one of the highlights of my summer schedule. I love playing links golf as it's fun trying out different types of shots and David (Leadbetter) is full of great tips which I look forward to putting into action. I hope my great memories of coming so close at Birkdale in 2005 will give me a little advantage at this year's tournament. "
Shona Malcolm, the Ladies' Golf Union's CEO commented, "Announcing three of the world's best players at this early stage in the season with many more to follow underlines the strength and depth of the field we enjoy at the Ricoh Women's British Open. The tournament has developed significantly in recent years and we continue to work with our partners, Ricoh and IMG, to ensure the event continues to grow and develop. We were delighted at the success of last year's Championship and look forward to another fantastic tournament this summer."
For the first time this year fans will be able to watch the BBC's extensive coverage of the Ricoh Women's British Open in HD (high definition) underlining the significance of the Championship in the BBC's sports portfolio.
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.
For further information please contact:
Michele Mair, PR Manager, IMG