Georgia Hall says Muirfield has been 'really good' on and off the course

Muirfield has wowed its first-time visitors for this week’s historic AIG Women’s Open, according to English star Georgia Hall.

Georgia Halltees off on the first hole in the AIG Women's Open Pro-Am at Muirfield. Picture: Octavio Passos/Getty Images.
Georgia Halltees off on the first hole in the AIG Women's Open Pro-Am at Muirfield. Picture: Octavio Passos/Getty Images.

The East Lothian course has staged the men’s Open on no less than 16 occasions, most recently in 2013 when Phil Mickelson got his hands on the Claret Jug.

But this week is the first time the women’s equivalent has been hosted at the home of the Honourable Company of Golfers, with the exciting opportunity having been teed up after women members were admitted on the back of a second vote in 2017 after an initial one failed the previous year.

“It's been really good,” said Hall, the 2018 winner, of her experience since walking though the big iron gates for the first time earlier in the week.

“I didn't really know what to expect. I've heard really good things about the course and it is really good.

“I think everyone wants to win here, especially because it is the first women's professional event that we are playing in. Definitely a good one to win this year!”

The event was also held at Royal Troon for the first time two years ago after the men-only barriers were also removed there in recent years.

Two Edinburgh clubs - Bruntsfield Links and Royal Burgess - voted ‘yes’ to women members as well in that time.

Did Hall, who also won the R&A Girls’ Amateur and R&A Women’s Amateur titles as she came through the ranks, ever feel she was being held back from not getting into certain clubs in the past?

“I'm lucky enough, I haven't really had that issue growing up,” she said. “But I think it's so important that the women are here this week.

“It makes such a mark on women's golf, and AIG and R&A have done a fantastic job working together to get the championship here.

“It just keeps elevating this tournament and what is needed with increased prize funds over the last couple of years.

“We’re at Walton Heath next year and St Andrews coming up soon, and we've got the US Open at Pebble Beach next year.

“I think the women's game is definitely in the best position it's ever has been, and I'm very happy to be in the middle of my career doing that.”

This week’s field boasts 44 of the top 50 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.Defending champion Anna Nordqvist is one of 11 past champions in the field, which also includes 15 of the 2022 LPGA Tour season’s 16 winners.

In addition to landing the title at Royal Lytham four years ago, Hall tied for second at Carnoustie 12 months ago and is relishing this latest opportunity.

“I couldn't come into a tournament with more confidence than this one for sure,” said the 26-year-old from Bournemouth.

”Playing at home in front of home crowds, having a lot of people here that I'm close to as well, and playing this type of course suits me very well.

“I don't get to play it much, only twice a year. So really excited and I just really enjoy it more than anything because I'm at home.”

North Berwick woman Catriona Matthew, the 2009 winner, joins Gemma Dryburgh, Michele Thomson and Louise Duncan in flying the Saltire in the season’s final major.

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