Golf: AIG sponsorship will accelerate progress in women's game - R&A

LONDON (Reuters) - The R&A says the extension of insurance firm AIG’s title sponsorship of the women’s British Open until 2025 will accelerate the progress made in the women’s game.

FILE PHOTO: Golf - Women's British Open - Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club, Lytham Saint Annes, Britain - August 5, 2018. England's Georgia Hall plays a shot to the 18th green during the final round. Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

AIG have agreed a two-year extension to its current deal and this year’s tournament at Troon in August, the first women’s major to take place since the COVID-19 pandemic, will be called the AIG Women’s Open.

“The R&A and AIG share a long-term vision for the AIG Women’s Open. We are fortunate to have such a committed partner in supporting women’s golf,” Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A said in a statement.

“Together with AIG, we are determined to accelerate the progress we have made in women’s golf.

“The AIG Women’s Open is the perfect showcase for these highly skilled athletes to demonstrate how good they are and inspire more girls and women to take up golf.”

While men’s professional golf has resumed, the women’s LPGA Tour remains suspended although it will return on July 31 with the Drive On Championship in Toledo, Ohio.

Georgia Hall, winner of the 2018 women’s Open, says the sponsorship extension is welcome as many players struggle from the loss of earnings.

“I am so grateful that AIG has continued to support women’s golf, particularly in the face of a pandemic,” she said.

This year’s women’s Open will take place without fans at Troon between Aug 20-23.

Strict health protocols will be in place with access to the course limited to players, caddies, officials and staging staff.

The field will be comprised of the leading players from the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings as well as recognising successful players from recent tournaments staged on the world’s leading Tours. There are no qualification events.

“We believe that playing the AIG Women’s British Open is a significant step for players whose playing opportunities have been severely impacted this year,” Slumbers said.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis