The event is regarded as the biggest tournament in women’s golf and will pit the best female professional golfers in Europe against their United States counterparts, attracting a huge worldwide audience and media profile for the host country.
And now, just five years on from hosting what was dubbed the “best-ever” Ryder Cup in September 2014, The PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles will be the venue for the biggest event in women’s golf following Scotland’s successful bid.
Commenting on the news that the Ladies European Tour’s Board voted in favour of Scotland, The Right Honourable Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland MSP, said: “This is tremendous news, not only for golf tourism and events in Scotland but for Scotland as a whole. As a nation we take a huge amount of pride in welcoming major events to our country and in women’s golf they don’t come any bigger than The Solheim Cup.
“The outstanding success of 2014 still looms large in the memory and I am delighted that Gleneagles and Scotland will once again play host to a major international team golf event. It will help cement Scotland’s reputation as the Home of Golf and the perfect stage for major golf events and help inspire a new generation of children to take up the game invented in their home country.”
Scotland’s bid, which was led by the EventScotland team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate and backed by The Scottish Government, was submitted in August and received huge support from stars across the golfing, sporting and media spectrum.
Following the initial submission, a delegation from the Ladies European Tour visited Gleneagles as part of an official site inspection, where they met key partners who will be involved in the staging of the event including VisitScotland, The Scottish Government, Gleneagles, Perth & Kinross Council, Transport Scotland and Police Scotland. To show the nation’s support for the bid, they were also welcomed at The Scottish Parliament by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health Jamie Hepburn.
Ronnie Pook, Chair of the Scottish Incoming Golf Tour Operators' Association, said:
It's great new that another major event of this calibre is coming to Scotland. All the coverage that goes with hosting tournaments like this one, The Ryder Cup, Scottish Open and of course The Open itself all add to the mystique of Scotland as a must place to visit. As Tour Operators we are all very aware of the increased number of women golfers playing in Scotland whether with partners and family, in mixed groups or all female parties. It is great that the Ladies game is going to take centre stage in Scotland.The Solheim Cup has grown in stature since it was last held in Scotland at Loch Lomond in 2000. The event at Gleneagles is expected to attract more than 100,000 spectators as well as being screened to hundreds of millions of homes across the globe.
Much like The Ryder Cup in 2014, Scotland will look to capitalise on the legacy associated with hosting such a major international sporting event. A key focus will be looking to drive participation in the game, with a particular emphasis on junior and family participation.
The event will also add to Scotland’s already impressive portfolio of world-class golf events lined up in future years, which includes The Open Championship in 2016 and 2018, the Senior Open Championship in 2016 and the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2017 in addition to the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and Ladies Scottish Open on an annual basis.
It will also take place just a year after the recently-announced inaugural European Golf Team Championships at Gleneagles in 2018, which will see professional men and women golfers compete for the first time in the same competition.
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, added: “Hosting major international sporting events is a key strand in our National Events Strategy, The Perfect Stage, and the fact that we can now add The 2019 Solheim Cup to an already envied list is fantastic news for Scotland.
“Golf is one of our key drivers for inbound tourism and hosting The Solheim Cup in 2019 will ensure that we continue to play on the world stage when it comes to major golf events. We are looking forward to once again welcoming spectators from Europe and the US and showing the world how Scotland embraces major events.”