AIG Women's Open: Martin Dempster's essential guide to event

All you need to know about the women’s major at Royal Troon

Royal Troon is staging the AIG Women's Open for the first time after opening its doors to women members just before the 2016 Open Championship at the Ayrshire venue. Picture: PA
Royal Troon is staging the AIG Women's Open for the first time after opening its doors to women members just before the 2016 Open Championship at the Ayrshire venue. Picture: PA

Is the tournament more significant than normal?

Very much so. It's the first time the women's major has been staged at Royal Troon, which opened its doors to women members in the build up to the men's Open Championship in 2017. It's also the event's 20th staging as a major and the first women's major in 2020 as well due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Sign up to our Golf newsletter

Who are the stars in field?

The line up includes six players from the world's top 10 - three more than last week's ASI Ladies Scottish Open in East Lothian. Danielle Kang (No 2), Nasa Hataoka (No 5) and Minjee Lee (No 8) are joined by Nelly Korda (No 4), Brooke Henderson (No 7) and Lexi Thompson (No 9) while 13th-ranked Hinako Shibuno from Japan defends the title.

How many Scots are in the line up?

Five, including 2009 winner Catriona Matthew, who is returning to a venue where she won the Helen Holm Trophy as an amateur in 1990. Carly Booth and Kylie Henry also have previous Women's Open experience, but Gemma Dryburgh and Michele Thomson are both making their debuts in the event. Thomson was a reserve on three occasions in the past but never made it to the first tee.

What is the format?

A total of 144 players will play 36 holes of stroke-play over the first two days, with the top 65 and ties progressing to the final two rounds on Saturday and Sunday.

What's the prize fund?

The total purse is $4.5 million - $3 million more than the ASI Ladies Scottish Open. The winner picked up $675,000 last year after that was increased by almost 40 per cent from 2018 by the R&A in recognition of the importance of the event and women's golf.

How is the course being set up?

It is down to play at 6,649 yards, though that is subject to change once the tournament starts. The par is 71, with the players tackling one of the most iconic holes in golf - the Postage Stamp. The eighth measures just 114 yards, but the 17th, in contrast, is a 200-yard par 3 that normally plays into the wind.

Is the weather going to play a part?

Definitely. Strong winds, which could get up to gale force, are in the forecast for the first two rounds and part of Saturday before the final round is played out in a gentle westerly breeze but feeling cool at the same time. There is also a chance of the odd thunderstorm in the early part of the event.

Are spectators allowed in?

No. As was the case at last week's ASI Ladies Scottish Open and all the events on the PGA Tour and European Tour at the moment due to Covid-19 restrictions, this tournament is being played behind closed doors.

Where can you watch it?

The action is live Sky Sports on all four days. On Thursday and Friday, the coverage is between 11 and 6pm while on Saturday and Sunday it is midday to 7pm. The BBC is showing highlights starting at 11.30pm on Thursday, 11.20pm on Friday, 11.45pm on Saturday and 11.55pm for Sunday’s final round.