(Reuters) - Scotland’s Gleneagles course will host the 16th Solheim Cup in 2019 after beating off a “competitive” challenge from Sweden, the Ladies European Tour announced on Thursday.
Regarded as the most prestigious international women’s professional golf team event, the biennial competition between Europe and the United States has not been held in Scotland since 2000, when it was played in Loch Lomond.
The final choice was between Gleneagles, the venue for Europe’s successful defense of the Ryder Cup in 2014, and the Bro Hof Slott Golf Club, near Stockholm.
“I want to congratulate the Scotland bid team for their work,“ said tour chief executive Ivan Khodabakhsh. ”It was an extremely close decision and our heartfelt thanks go to our friends from Sweden for their hugely impressive bid.
“The Bro Hof Slott Golf Club is one of Europe’s very finest courses and we look forward to working with them in the future.”
Ten countries had initially expressed interest in hosting the competition -- which has been won nine times by the U.S. and five by Europe -- in 2019, the next time it is held in Europe.
“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,” Khodabakhsh said.
“The Solheim Cup has grown to be the biggest event in the women’s game.”
The news of Gleneagles’ success was also welcomed by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who 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 2017 event will take place on Aug. 14-20 at Des Moines Country Club in Iowa, with the home nation defending the trophy they won in a controversial contest in Germany last month.
Reporting by Neville Dalton; Editing by Ken Ferris