8am Round-Up: Dates set for 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles

Gleneagles, where the 2014 Ryder Cup was staged, is set to be back in the sporting spotlight when it hosts the 2019 Solheim Cup. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Gleneagles, where the 2014 Ryder Cup was staged, is set to be back in the sporting spotlight when it hosts the 2019 Solheim Cup. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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The 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles will be held on 13-15 September, it has been confirmed by VisitScotland.

Practice for the event, which is being staged in the Home of Golf for a third time, will begin on 9 September.

The dates were unveiled by VisitScotland’s director of events Paul Bush at a dinner last night at the Perthshire resort.

He also revealed that Catriona Matthew, who is likely to be a contender for the European captaincy at Gleneagles, has agreed to take up a role as “global ambassador” for VisitScotland.

Matthew, who has played in eight Solheim Cups, is set to be one of Annika Sorenstam’s vice-captains for this year’s match at Des Moines, Iowa.

Dalmahoy staged the first Solheim Cup in Europe 1992 before the event returned to Scotland eight years later at Loch Lomond.

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Edinburgh-based American Beth Allen has been invited by US Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster to a gathering of prospective team members this weekend in Houston.

Allen, who became the first US player to top the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit last season, is among 16 players set to meet up at Bluejack National on Saturday and Sunday.

The group is made up of the top 14 on the official US Solheim Cup points list after the recent ANA Inspiration, as well as Allen and fellow rookie Nelly Korda.

Allen and Korda have been invited by Inkster ahead of two Solheim Cup veterans, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.

It will be the first get-together ahead of the match in mid-August, when the Americans will be defending the trophy after 14.5-13.5 win in Germany in 2015.

“We could have a little bit different team this year,” Inkster told GolfChannel.com. “We could have some rookies, and I want to try to get them ready to go. I wanted to bring us together and go over what we’re working on.

“We still have a ton of tournaments. There is going to be a lot of shifting in points. You can’t really predict who is going to be on the team. I just wanted a wide variety of people there. So, that’s kind of the way it worked out.”

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Tiger Woods revealed he is no nearer to knowing when he will be ready to return to competitive action despite hitting shots in public for the first time in more than two months.

“The back is progressing,” said Woods, who has not played since withdrawing after the opening round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, as he announced plans for his first public course in Missouri.

“I have good days and bad days. I’ve had three back operations, and that’s just kind of the nature of the business unfortunately. That’s all I can say.”

The 14-time major winner’s new course, which is scheduled to open in 2019, will be called Payne’s Valley in honour of the late Payne Stewart.

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The innovative ‘Hero Challenge’ on the European Tour has been secured for another three years.

The extended deal for the event wth Hero MotoCorp Ltd, the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, was announced this morning.

The first ‘Hero Challenge’ was held at last year’s British Masters at The Grove and it was revealed recently that the next one will take place at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links in July.

This year will also see the event repeated at the British Masters when it visits Close House, near Newcastle, before also taking place at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.

“We are delighted that Hero MotoCorp have shown such incredible support not only for the European Tour, but for our desire to bring the game of golf to new audiences through innovation,” said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.

“We firmly believe in the direction we are taking and it is clear that Hero share that belief. The inaugural Hero Challenge was a terrific success at the British Masters last year and led the way in terms of innovative concepts for ourselves at the European Tour.

“We very much look forward to three Hero Challenges this year which will greatly enhance three already special weeks on our schedule and I am sure that the golf fans in Scotland, England and Dubai will thoroughly enjoy watching their favourite stars in action in this exciting format.”

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Overnight leader Paul Lawrie slipped three shots off the pace after the second round of the Portugal Pro Tour’s Bon Sucesso Classic.

The Aberdonian followed his opening 66 with a 73, leaving him with work on his plate to catch new leader Tiago Cruz (70-66) heading into today’s final round.