Championship Committee offer Ai Miyazato special Exemption
Entries have closed for this year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open with all of the top 20 on the Official Rolex World Rankings confirmed in the field as the Championship heads to Kingsbarns Golf Links, St Andrews, Scotland from 3 to 6 August 2017.
Defending Champion Ariya Jutanugarn will face the challenge of five former Ricoh Women’s British Open Champions, 24 Major Champions and 22 Solheim Cup players with 78 appearances between them.
Known to be the most international of the Majors, there are already 23 nationalities represented in the field with over 30 places still to be filled. Aspiring Major Champions can still make their way in through the final qualifying events on the LPGA and LET Tours and via the Championship Pre-Qualifying tournament to be held at Hankley Common, Surrey on the 17th July followed by the Final Qualifying event on the Castle Course, St Andrews on Monday 31st July before the qualifiers join the 144 women draw playing at Kingsbarns Golf Links for the first time.
Japanese crowd favourite and former world number one, Ai Miyazato, has been offered a special exemption by the Championship Committee. Having declared this is her final year of competition, Miyazato’s delight was evident as she commented, ““I am very grateful to the Championship Committee and especially The R&A, for giving me this special invitation and the opportunity to make my final appearance playing in the Ricoh Women’s British Open. It was the first major I ever played in and has always been one of my favourite tournaments. It is a title I would really love to win before I retire.”
With Miyazato joining the field there will be eight players in St Andrews who have held the coveted number one spot on the Rolex Ranking; Cristie Kerr, Yani Tseng, Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn and the current incumbent, So Yeon Ryu.
Ricoh Ambassador and the UK’s highest-ranked player in the field, Charley Hull said, “Everybody is buzzing about playing at Kingsbarns for the first time and also returning to St Andrews. I am not surprised it’s attracted such an awesome field with all of the top-ranked players entered as it is the one that everyone dreams of winning.”
Scottish Number One, Catriona Matthew, added, “As a proud Scot, I always feel the Ricoh Women’s British Open is that extra bit special when it is hosted in Scotland and I know the new venue on the rota this year will be well received by the players. Kingsbarns is going to provide a stern test of links golf while also showcasing the amazing beauty of the Home of Golf.”
Kingsbarns has hosted the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship since 2001, Final Qualifying for The Open in 2010 and the 2013 Ricoh Women’s British Open Final Qualifying. The course has been widely acclaimed by players and media alike since its opening 14 years ago.
The Ricoh Women’s British Open was founded by the Ladies’ Golf Union in 1976 and has been staged in conjunction with IMG, a global leader in sports, events, media and fashion, since 1984. The event has been co-sanctioned by the LPGA and LET since 1994, and gained Major status in 2001.
Ricoh, a global technology company specialising in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services, has been the title sponsor of the Ricoh Women’s British Open since 2007.
The partnership between VisitScotland and the Ricoh Women’s British Open that started in 2011 ensures that the Championship is played in Scotland five times over a decade.
For further information, please visit www.ricohwomensbritishopen.com or contact Michele Mair or Tom Benbow at IMG.