Annika Sörenstam will take a closer look at the European prospects for The Solheim Cup when she attends the inaugural Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open near Barcelona, on 20-23 April.
The 10-time Major champion, who captured a career Grand Slam and was the first woman ever to shoot 59 during a 16-year career, will be watching the best players from Europe at Club de Golf Terramar in Sitges as she seeks players to compete in The Solheim Cup at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa this August.
“I am thrilled to be attending the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open,” said Annika. “Spain has a rich golfing history as well as some talented young ladies currently on tour. I look forward to seeing some of the European players up close in Barcelona, one of Europe’s great sporting cities, with my friend and Solheim Cup Vice Captain Marta Figueras-Dotti.”
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) February 22, 2017
Sörenstam is known for her meticulous preparation and during her time in Spain, she will have a close-up view of the players who may qualify for her 12-woman squad, as well as candidates for her four captain’s picks.
With nine qualifying Ladies European Tour tournaments and three U.S. Majors to be played before the team is announced following the Ricoh Women’s British Open, the current top eight players, including four from the Solheim Cup points list and four from the World Rankings, are Melissa Reid, Georgia Hall, Charley Hull, Florentyna Parker, Suzann Pettersen, Anna Nordqvist, Carlota Ciganda and Karine Icher. Players just outside the automatic qualification spots include Emily Kristine Pedersen, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Becky Morgan, Azahara Muñoz, Caroline Masson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
At a press conference in the old Estrella Damm factory in Barcelona on Wednesday, Figueras-Dotti, who is the ambassador of the tournament, highlighted “the values that we all share, to build such an important event, that will be inspiring and very intimate.” She continued: “We must thank Estrella Damm for its involvement in women’s golf. The result is this wonderful tournament.”
Club de Golf Terramar has been chosen as the venue to coincide with 90 years of golf in the seaside town of Sitges, which is about 35 kilometres southwest of Barcelona and the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open is also the first professional Ladies European Tour event in Catalonia since 2007, when Ashleigh Simon won the Catalonia Ladies Masters.
Fede Segarra, Director of communication and external relations of Estrella Damm, the title sponsor, commented: “Estrella Damm is proud that this tournament bears our brand name and is linked to the Mediterranean, as well as to women’s sports.”
Meanwhile, José María Gassó, President of Club de Golf Terramar, added: “The tournament coincides with our 90th anniversary and we are honoured to host such an important event.”
Ramón Nogué, Vice President of institutional relations of the Catalan Golf Federation, said: “It is with great pride that we announce this tournament in Catalonia. We will have the opportunity to see the best European players at a great club, supported by a great company.”
Jaime Salaverri, Vice President of the Royal Spanish Golf Federation, said: “We especially thank Estrella Damm and Marta Figueras-Dotti, for her continued commitment and support of women’s golf and for contributing to the development of so many high-quality Spanish players through her coaching for so many years.”
Aurora Carbonell, Councillor for economic development, tourism and beaches and first lieutenant of Mayor of the city of Sitges, commented: “To be able to welcome the best European golfers will allow us to promote the benefits of Sitges as a tourist destination, through a fantastic event with a great international impact, that fits perfectly with our image and goals. This event will unite people in one place through women’s sport, highlighting our tourism, culture and gastronomy offerings, so I encourage all to visit.”
Francesc Vila, Manager of Tourism Services for the Barcelona region, highlighted the ability for Sitges to host an event which will engage with so many people. “The tournament presents an opportunity to highlight all the good things we have in the province of Barcelona: sea, cultural heritage, gastronomy, sport, and ten golf courses where you can play all year round.”
Finally, Antoni Reig, Director of the Catalan Sports Council, said: “It is an honour to host a tournament of such international prestige, which consolidates and Club de Golf Terramar and Sitges as great tourism assets. It’s a wonderful opportunity to highlight our potential, which is helped by companies like Estrella Damm. Now we just need our players to do well!”
The Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open will be the first Ladies European Tour event in Europe this year.
About Estrella Damm and golf
Faithful to its commitment to sport, Estrella Damm has been linked to numerous sporting events since its beginnings in 1876, golf being a discipline that the brand has supported in the past. Today, the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open represents a great opportunity for the brand to engage with European’s best female golfers and all of their followers. For this first edition, Estrella Damm will make their product available to spectators in the tournament village area, and will recognise the success of the participants by presenting the Estrella Damm trophy to the tournament winner.