Scottish legend Catriona Matthew has been handed the “huge honour” of hitting the opening tee shot at the AIG Women’s Open.
At 6.30am on Thursday, the 2009 champion will get proceedings under way at Muirfield – just a stone’s throw from her childhood home.
“It will be great,” she told reporters at the historic venue on Tuesday, shortly after the news was announced.
“Hopefully at 6.30am there won’t be too many people there!
“It’s a huge honour.”
Despite this being the first time British women’s golf’s showpiece event has been held there, Matthew is no stranger to Muirfield.
“I was a litter picker for one of the Opens here,” she revealed.
“Then I was a scorer a couple of times. I was with John Cook’s group when he missed that putt and Nick Faldo won [in 1992].”
Not so long ago, it seemed unlikely Muirfield would ever get this chance at all.
A controversial vote on whether to admit female members failed, leading to the course being removed from the Open rota.
But fast forward half a decade, a second vote was successful and it has transformed into a venue at the forefront of the women’s game.
“It’s great to come here,” Matthew added.
“Over the last ten years we have started going to the Open venues we have seen the men playing, and it elevates the championship.
“Obviously the initial vote was disappointing but it was quickly reversed and now the club is delighted to have lady members.
“I think everything is always moving forwards. You have to look forwards rather than backwards.”