Connecticut is in the running to host the 2021 Solheim Cup, often described as the most exciting event in women’s professional golf, in what would be a significant coup for the state’s sports fans.
The female equivalent of the men’s Ryder Cup, the tournament is held every odd-numbered year and matches the best players from the United States against the best from Europe.
Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield is one of six finalists to host the 2021 Cup, along with Inverness in Toledo, Scioto Country Club outside Columbus, Oak Tree National in Edmond, Okla., Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club, and a to-be-determined course in San Antonio, Texas.
The 2017 edition is slated for play at the Des Moines Golf & Country Club on August 14 – 20, 2017. Scotland recently won the right to host The Solheim Cup in 2019. The 16th edition of the team event will be played at the world famous PGA Centenary Course at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire.
Officials at the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau recently confirmed that conversations are underway that may result in the event being played in Fairfield County in 2021 – if Connecticut is selected from the field of finalists. Presentations by competing cities are being made on July 19 in Chicago. The state should learn of the selection decision by the end of the year. Connecticut’s elected officials, at the state and federal level, have provided support for the Brooklawn bid.
Brooklawn Country Club was formed in 1895 and from its earliest days, was conceived as a family club. Rich in history, Brooklawn was one of the first dozen or so clubs to join the United States Golf Association in 1896. Brooklawn has been the site of numerous amateur and professional championships including the 1974 USGA Junior Championship, the 1979 U. S. Women’s Open, the 1987 U. S. Senior Open and the 2003 USGA Girls Championship.
Although more than a year away, Des Moines is already spreading enthusiasm and selling tickets to the week-long event. The August event traditionally draws some 200,000 fans for the three days of competition and preceding practice rounds.
“The support that the Des Moines community has shown for golf events in the area has been tremendous. Based on the incredible welcome that we’ve already seen from the city, state, and local organizers, I have no doubt that the 2017 Solheim Cup is already on track to be one of the best event we’ve ever staged,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “From the very first time we met the Des Moines Golf and Country Club leaders, we realized that we were able to think big, rally the support of the community, and facilitate corporate and fan experiences that will take The Solheim Cup to a new level.”
Des Moines Golf and Country Club was the site of the 1999 U.S. Senior Open Championship which drew a record 252,800 spectators.
After an extensive and very competitive bidding process for the 2019 event, the final decision saw Scotland edge out a strong bid from Sweden, according to published reports. There were 10 countries – Denmark, England, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and Wales – that submitted expressions of interest in hosting the 2019 event, the next time it is to be held in Europe.
Ivan Khodabakhsh, chief executive of Ladies European Tour said: “The competitive nature of the bidding process for the 2019 event is testimony to the growth in interest in women’s professional golf and women’s sport in general. The Solheim Cup has grown to be the biggest event in the women’s game delivering outstanding value to its partners at a local, national and international level.”
There is no early word on what impact the recent “Brexit” vote that is expected to lead to the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union might have on the event.
Last month, the victorious 2015 U.S. Solheim Cup team visited Washington D.C. to be recognized for their accomplishments last September in defeating the European Team and winning back the Cup after back-to-back losses. The team sported matching red, white and blue sneakers for their Oval Office meeting with President Obama.
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. John A. Solheim, PING Chairman and CEO, commented: “I am excited that the Solheim Cup will be returning to Scotland, home of Europe’s first win. Gleneagles is certainly one of the great venues in golf and I’m sure that the members of the 2019 Solheim Cup teams will be up to meeting the challenges of this exceptional golf course.”
In the 1930’s, A. W. Tillinghast, one of history’s premier golf architects who also designed, among others, the courses at Winged Foot Golf Club, Baltusrol Golf Club, Bethpage State Park and Quaker Ridge Golf Club, redesigned the Brooklawn course in Fairfield into its present form. Des Moines Golf and Country Club is the second Pete Dye-designed venue to host The Solheim Cup following the 2005 tournament at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Indiana.
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