WITH just three weeks to go until Glasgow 2018 kicks off, Carly Booth may be an outside contender to make the British team for the event but that fact has barely dampened her excitement about this historic event.
Gleneagles will host golf’s first-ever European Team Championships and with Booth an ambassador for the event, she has been heavily involved in the build-up.
While the other sports that Scotland will host – cycling, aquatics, triathlon, gymnastics and rowing – all have well-established European Championships, golf has never had such an event. And Booth is effusive when talking about the benefits for the women’s game that the European Championships, which will include a mixed event that will see the women and men play alongside each other, will bring to the game.
“Having the women be equals throughout the whole week, I think that is massive for us,” she said.
“I think it’s great to finally have some recognition of how strong we are as women golfers so I think this is going to be one of those weeks where we are really going to show off.
“Getting more television coverage is what we need because the more viewers we have, the more people to start getting interested and involved in women’s golf. Everything is starting to go in the right direction and these mixed events are clearly something that is going to help with that.”
Booth’s immediate focus though is on the Ladies Scottish Open, which will take place in Gullane at the end of the month, followed immediately by the Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club in Lancashire.
As a former winner of the Scottish Open – the 26-year-old from Comrie won the event in 2012 – the tournament holds fond memories for Booth but with an exceptional field this year, which includes the likes of Michelle Wie, Catriona Matthew, Charley Hull and Lydia Ko, the Scot will have to go some way to regain her title. She is, however, ready for the challenge.
“I’m really looking forward to the Scottish Open,” she said.
“Half the field is going to be from the LPGA so it’s going to be a tough week but it is going to be a good, fun week. I always enjoy the Scottish, I’ve got some great memories, it is the one tournament of the year where you’re playing in your own country and there’s a great atmosphere.
“The tournament has grown massively since I won in 2012 and it’s great to see it grow.
Things are made considerably harder for Booth and her peers though as the Ladies European Tour is struggling for backing and as a result, has only a handful of events in this year’s calendar. This limited schedule results in the players having sizeable gaps between tournaments which can, admits Booth, make things tricky when it comes to motivation.
“It has been very difficult to not have a full schedule,” she admits.
“It’s mentally tough – it’s hard to keep motivated with your practice when you know you’ve got so much time off.
“I’ve been trying to keep myself busy this year when I have not been playing tournaments – I think that’s something that we have to do.
“I think with the women’s game, and we have had these conversations, we have to work that little bit harder to be recognised and to be seen as great athletes.”
However, as frustrating as this season has been for Booth, who finished last season ranked 31st on the European Tour Order of Merit, she is optimistic that things are beginning to look up.
“I don’t know what I see for our future to be honest but I feel like we are going in the right direction,” she said.
“We have had a few confirmed tournaments in for next year so that’s looking more positive for 2019.
“I’d hope to say this was our rock bottom year for the ladies tour, or so I’m hoping anyway.
“Sometimes these things take a little bit of time so I hope we’ll start to see some improvements for next year and then we have Solheim Cup and after that so hopefully we’ll see a big, massive change in schedule for end of 2019, start of 2020.”
Source : HeraldScotland