5 years on, the course opens its doorways for the fifth and last main of the ladies’s season, a lot to the delight of the members.
It will likely be a particular sort of pleasure for Scottish golfer Catriona Matthew who, past having the chance to expertise a significant only a brief drive from dwelling, will go down in historical past as the primary lady to tee off at Muirfield in a Women’s Open.
“It’s a huge honor when you’re asked to do something like that,” Matthew, Open champion at Royal Lytham in 2009, informed reporters Tuesday.
“I think it’s going to be a great experience … all the players will have watched the men play here over the years and I think they are delighted to have that opportunity to come here and play their own Open.
“That simply elevates this championship, and we are actually going to programs that individuals are used to seeing The Open and the majors on. I feel it is good for us.”
The 52-year-old admitted she was “upset” with the initial vote to maintain male-only membership, but believes the reversal showed progress is being made.
“You simply must look ahead fairly than look backwards,” Matthews added. “Golf, beginning in Scotland, we had much more traditions maybe, that we’re simply steadily shifting with the occasions.
“Hopefully any girls or boys who are golfing, they can see both the men and the women playing the same golf courses, which is good.”
Anna Nordqvist arrives in East Lothian because the defending Open champion, having clinched a one-stroke victory at Carnoustie final 12 months. Along with her first main look coming as an beginner on the occasion in 2007, the triumph consolidated a “special” connection between the three-time major-winning Swede and the Open.
“I’ve heard a lot about Muirfield,” Nordqvist mentioned. “I know the guys have played here over the years, so I think it’s an amazing opportunity for us to have Muirfield added to our Open rotation.
“Coming in by the gate, (I) noticed my image — it is the primary image you see — clearly it nonetheless feels fairly surreal to have my identify on the trophy,” she added.
Despite the pain of seeing Sweden routed 4-0 in the semi-final by the eventual champions, Nordqvist sees parallels in the increased coverage of women’s football and golf.
“It is simply thrilling to see that I feel girls’s sport (all) over the world is getting extra consideration,” she said.
“It was fairly an enormous occasion, the way in which they had been internet hosting it and the TV occasions, I feel that is crucial. Our tee occasions are getting higher, too. Numerous occasions, we tee off early as a result of (of) … the blokes’ schedule.”
While Nordqvist tees off as reigning champion, Brooke Henderson starts as arguably the form player.
After withdrawing from the Scottish Open, won by Japan’s Ayaka Furue on Sunday, Henderson is “recharged” and raring to go.
“To be taking part in this 12 months, it actually means quite a bit to all of us,” she said. “It is simply proof that the ladies’s recreation is continuous to develop — the purse sizes are growing, we’re on community TV extra, and we’re taking part in these higher venues.
“It’s just a really fun time to be a part of women’s golf, because it is growing so much and we feel like we’re making a difference for future generations.”
“I was extremely excited to come out and play this event this year,” she mentioned.
“I knew the history, and the fact that we were going to be the first female tournament out here, too, was pretty amazing.
“So I used to be simply extra excited to truly be out right here and to get to play this golf course and soak all of it up, in addition to the historical past of this place.”
Catriona Matthew is about to tee off first in her group alongside Sophia Schubert and Louise Duncan at 6:30 a.m. native time (01:30 a.m. ET) on Thursday.