Golf: Men’s and women’s tournament set for Gleneagles

Justin Rose blasts out of a bunker at the third hole during the second round at the Hong Kong Open. Picture: AP
Justin Rose blasts out of a bunker at the third hole during the second round at the Hong Kong Open. Picture: AP
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SCOTLAND will play host to a world first in golf when a ground-breaking joint men’s and women’s tournament is staged at Gleneagles as part of the 2018 European Sports Championships.

The historic tournament will feature teams comprising professionals from the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour, with both bodies having sanctioned its addition to the inaugural multi-event European Sports Championships being held in Glasgow and Berlin.

The composition of four-strong teams for match-play men’s, women’s and mixed competitions to be staged over five days between 1-12 August, 2018, will be dependent on availability, and that is normally around the time of both the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA Championship. Hypothetically, however, it could mean a Scottish side featuring Marc Warren, Stephen Gallacher, Catriona Matthew and Kylie Walker taking on the other 15 top golfing nations at the venue of last year’s Ryder Cup.

“There is no more fitting place to host an inaugural event of this kind than in Scotland, the home of golf,” said Paul Bush, Visit Scotland’s director of events. “When the idea of a combined European Sports Championships was first mooted for Glasgow and Scotland, we were adamant that it should include a golf event for both men and ladies given our proud history and association with the sport and our reputation for equality.

“I am delighted that we were able to work with the European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the European Sports Championships to make this happen. The Gleneagles Hotel is a truly world-class venue, which has hosted many international golf events, including the hugely successful 2014 Ryder Cup, and there is no doubt it will do justice to the first-ever European Golf Team Championships.”

The news comes as Scotland waits to find out if a bid to stage the 2019 Solheim Cup at the Perthshire venue is successful, with a decision on the straight fight with Sweden in that race set to be announced on Thursday.

“At Gleneagles, we have a proud tradition of innovation within the game of golf, including hosting the very first match between British and American professionals back in 1921, sowing the first seeds of the event that went on to become the Ryder Cup,” said managing director Bernard Murphy. “It is with great delight that we will be the host venue for yet another world-first in the European Golf Team Championships, and we look forward to welcoming the teams and spectators in 2018.”

The European Sports Championships will attract a projected television audience of around 850 million, with Glasgow itself being ‘host city’ to four sports, including cycling and swimming. Berlin will host the athletics at their iconic Olympic Stadium.

In the present, Craig Lee and Scott Jamieson both look to have locked up their European Tour cards for next season after making the cut in the Hong Kong Open at Fanling, where Ryder Cup star Justin Rose held a one-shot lead at halfway. However, Chris Doak is heading to the second stage of the Qualifying School in Spain next week after his early exit.

On course to earn steps up to the main circuit next season, Jamie McLeary and Andrew McArthur are leading Scots, lying joint-23rd, after two rounds in the Challenge Tour’s Foshan Open in China.