Wednesday, July 13, 2016


It’s the first time that golf has been played in an Olympic Games in over 100 years, but its introduction is being overshadowed by the decision of some athletes – including high profile golfers Rory McIlroy and Vijay Singh – not to attend.
They have pulled out over fears of the Zika virus, which is spread by mosquitoes and is linked to severe birth defects and neurological problems in adults.
But Catriona Matthew (46), who next week will play at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, says that while the virus is worrying, it will not stop her from taking part in what may be her only shot at appearing in an Olympic Games.
“I have spoken to a few of the girls on the tour who are hoping to have kids in the future, and it is certainly a concern for them,” she says.
“I have had my family now and I do not plan on having any more children, but if I was younger and I was at that stage in my life then I would consider not going.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the younger female athletes decide to pull out depending on what the reports are. However, there are new reports coming out all the time and it’s hard to know what to believe.”
Before jetting off to Rio, it’s no surprise that Scotland’s top female golfer Catriona Matthew relishes the chance to play in her own back yard.
But it’s not just the opportunity to play on the courses where she honed her skills as a teenager that makes Scottish tournaments so appealing.
For Matthew it’s the chance to spend a few extra days with her young family before she packs her bags and boards another flight.
She’ll be enjoying home comforts when she takes part in the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open at Dundonald Links in North Ayrshire next month.
“It’s very different now that I am a mum and both the girls are in school. I used to travel so much, but now I never travel for longer than three weeks at a time and then I make sure I’m home for two weeks,” says Matthew, who is based in North Berwick.
“It’s great to be able to come home and to play in Scotland: I guess everyone enjoys any opportunity they can get to return home and play in their own country. My time off is valuable because I can spend it with my family.
“I really enjoyed the layout of Dundonald last year, but how well you play on any links course really comes down to the weather. If it’s not windy it will be a great course, but if the wind picks up it will be a tough test.”
Matthew, who is an ambassador for Aberdeen Asset Management, won her Women’s British Open title just 11 weeks after giving birth to her second daughter, and the girls regularly travelled with her before they started school.
Although daughters Katie, aged nine, and seven-year-old Sophie now remain at home, her husband, Graeme, is often with her on tour. A former scratch golfer, Graeme is Matthew’s caddie – a role he has scaled back recently - and will be alongside her at Dundonald from July 22 to 24.
She hopes he’ll also be by her side when she embarks on one of the major milestones of her 22-year professional career this summer. Matthew is a shoo-in for one of the Team GB berths at the Rio Olympics, along with English youngster Charley Hull.
Matthew’s daughters and husband will be in Brazil - and she’ll join them in watching some of the other sports in action – but she intends to soak up the full Olympic experience by living in the athlete’s village.
Although winning an Olympic gold medal is considered the pinnacle for many athletes, Matthew admits that it is not her primary goal.
“I think that winning a gold medal would be up there, but winning a major would be ahead of it,” adds Matthew.
“However, winning a gold medal would be fantastic: I watched the Olympics growing up but as a golfer taking part was never my goal when my sport has not been a part of it.”
The 2016 Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open takes place at Dundonald Links on the West Coast of Scotland in North Ayrshire, from 22-24 July. The event now occupies a prime spot on the Ladies European Tour calendar, sitting just one week ahead of the Women's British Open and offers a prize fund of €500,000.
The event's unique pro-am format sees 80 amateurs and celebrities tee it up alongside a limited field of 80 of the top female golfers in the world. The 54-hole tournament is played over three days and is the only annual professional Ladies European Tour event in Scotland.
The event is free to attend with fun for all the family.
For more information visit and follow @AberdeenLSO #AberdeenLSO