In 2016, the year that golf returns to the Olympic Games, both the Lalla Meryem Cup on the Ladies European Tour and the Trophée Hassan II on the men’s European Tour will be played in the same week at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in the Moroccan capital of Rabat.
Situated just 15 minutes outside Rabat’s city centre, Royal Golf Dar Es Salam stretches across 440 hectares of cork oak forest. The Red course will host the Trophée Hassan II, whilst the Lalla Meryem Cup will be played on the Blue course.
The future of both tournaments have been secured until at least 2018, with the first edition of the three-year extension due to be played from May 5-8.
Ladies European Tour Chief Executive Officer Ivan Khodabahksh commented: “The Ladies European Tour is thrilled to be playing alongside the men at next year’s Lalla Meryem Cup and I would like to thank the Association Trophée Hassan II for their vision and tremendous support of our organisation through the Lalla Meryem Cup and Lalla Aicha Tour School. It is wonderful to work with such creative partners and to be part of making history in Morocco.
“I am sure that this development will result in more exposure for women’s golf and widespread positive media coverage for the sport as a whole. We are delighted to be working with The European Tour, particularly in the year that golf return’s to the Olympic Games and following the recent announcement of the mixed European Sports Championships in 2018.”
Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer for The European Tour, said: “It is excellent news that the Trophée Hassan II will run until at least 2018, and fantastic that the tournament will return next May to Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, which is a truly stunning venue. Over the years this prestigious event has become a firm favourite with many of our Members, and I’m sure they will enjoy testing themselves on Robert Trent Jones’ creation next May.
“With golf returning to the Olympic Games in Rio it is perhaps fitting that both the ladies’ and men’s European Tour events will take place at the same venue, and I’m sure the club will prove a worthy host for both tournaments.”
Both those unique tournaments are honoured to have the Royal Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, together with the support of His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid in his role as President of the Association Trophée Hassan, the promoters of the tournament.
This year the Trophée Hassan II was won by Richie Ramsay, who beat Frenchman Romain Wattel by a single stroke at Golf du Palais Royal in Agadir while the Lalla Meryem Cup was won by France’s Solheim Cup star, Gwladys Nocera, who triumphed by two strokes over three other players at Golf de l’Océan, in the same city, during the same week.
The Trophée Hassan II was last held at the Robert Trent Jones-designed Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in 2010, when the tournament – which was first played in 1971 – joined The European Tour. Welshman Rhys Davies claimed his debut European Tour title by two shots from South African Louis Oosthuizen, who would go on to win The Open Championship four months later. Royal Golf Dar Es Salam also hosted Pre-Qualifying for the LET’s Lalla Aicha Tour School in 2013 and 2014.