Tuesday, July 31, 2007

2007 Ricoh Women’s British Open
Old Course, St. Andrews

-- Frequently asked questions --

The 2007 RICOH Women’s British Open is a historic moment for the game of golf. For the first time, the Old Course at St. Andrews will play host to a women’s major championship. In advance of the event, the following frequently asked questions should help provide you with the background and history of St. Andrews and the Old Course, and why this is a wonderful moment in history for women’s professional golf.

Event factoids
The RICOH Women’s British Open is governed by the Ladies Golf Union (LGU) and co-sanctioned by the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour.
The event started in 1976, joined the LPGA Tour schedule in 1994, and was designated an LPGA major championship in 2001.
The event rotates among some of the finest courses in the United Kingdom, including Sunningdale Golf Club; Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club; Turnberry Golf Club, Ailsa Course; Royal Birkdale Golf Club; and beginning in 2007, the Old Course, St. Andrews.

Q. Who governs St. Andrews and determines access?
A. The St Andrews Links Trust owns and operates the six courses in St. Andrews, including the Old Course. The six golf courses, which include the Old Course, are open to all, as are the golf practice center and the two clubhouses.

Q. What is the St. Andrews Links Trust?
A. The St. Andrews Links Trust is a charitable organization created by an Act of Parliament in 1974 to preserve and maintain the Links as golf courses, open to anyone. It is now the largest golf complex in Europe with 99 holes of golf, two public clubhouses and an extensive golf practice center.

Q. Are women granted full access to the Old Course at St. Andrews (to play, use the clubhouse, etc.) or is this something special for the championship?
A. Women, men, boys and girls are permitted year round access to the Links Trust Clubhouse (next to the 1st green) and the grounds of St. Andrews, including the Old Course.

Q. Why do so many people in and out of the golf industry think women are not granted access to the clubhouse and/or St. Andrews?
A. Many people perceive the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews behind the 18th green as the clubhouse for the Old Course. It is NOT. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews is a men’s-only club, but their facility, which is adjacent to the Old Course, is NOT the clubhouse for the golf course. Of the eight private member golf clubs in St. Andrews, two are women-only clubs (The St. Rule Club and The St. Regulus Club).

Q. What is the building directly behind first tee and 18th green? This is often perceived to be “the clubhouse.”
A. It is the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which, aside from special events, is only open to their members. It is NOT the Old Course clubhouse.

Q. What is the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
A. Formed in 1754, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews is the oldest of several men’s and women’s golf clubs in St. Andrews. It is a private men’s-only golf club.

Q. What is the R&A?
A. The R&A is the governing body of golf throughout the world except in the USA and Mexico. The R&A takes its name from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, which has continuous records dating back to its foundation in 1754, and although the Club continues its long history with 2,400 members throughout the world, The R&A has become a separate entity to focus on its governance role. The R&A took over the running of the Amateur and Open Championships in 1920 and has since acquired responsibility for a further nine championships and international matches from the boys to the seniors, the Junior Open to the Walker Cup. Authority for administration of the Rules was accepted by The R&A in 1897 and, since 1952, it has jointly issued the Rules with the USGA.

Q. What is the difference between the The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and the R&A governing body?
A. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews holds a unique position in golf. Established in 1754, it evolved through two and a half centuries as a leading authority in the world game. As the Club celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2004, it devolved responsibility for the administration of the Rules of Golf, the running of The Open Championship and other key events, and the development of the game in existing and emerging golfing nations, to a newly formed group of companies collectively known as The R&A.
As a separate entity, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews remains as a private golf club with a world-wide membership of 2,400.

Q. What clubhouse will the players use as the “players locker room?”
A. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has provided the RICOH Women’s British Open championship with full access to their facility and the players will be using the locker room in the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

Q. What role does The R&A have with the RICOH Women’s British Open?

A. As in previous years, the R&A has assisted the championship and the LGU by providing rules officials. This year they have also offered their clubhouse facility.

Q. What is the LGU?

A. The Ladies Golf Union (LGU) was founded in 1893 and is the governing body for ladies' amateur golf in Great Britain and Ireland, and manages the RICOH Women’s British Open.

Q. Why is playing at St. Andrews, the Old Course, so historical/special for the Ricoh Women’s British Open?
A. The 2007 RICOH Women’s British Open will be played at the famed Old Course of St. Andrews, the home of golf, for the first time in the event’s history. This marks the first time for a major women’s championship to be held at the home of golf. All players have set their sights on this event for many years and they look forward to competing for the title and the $2 million prize fund.