The Worcester Country Club is applying to host a prestigious international women’s golf tournament, the Solheim Cup, in 2025.
“This would make history,” said General Manager Bill Shaw, noting that Worcester Country Club would be the first golf course in history to host the Ryder Cup, the men’s and women’s U.S. Open and the Solheim Cup.
The experience of hosting the tournament, Shaw said, would be “something Worcester probably had never seen before.” “It’s an opportunity not just for the club but for local communities as well,” Shaw said.
The Solheim Cup is a women’s golf tournament involving teams from the U.S. and Europe. It was held in Des Moines, Iowa in 2017 and will be held in Scotland in 2019 and Toledo, Ohio, in 2021.
The Worcester Country Club has a storied history, as the home of the first Ryder Cup in 1927, as well as host to the men’s U.S. Open in 1925 and the U.S. Women’s Open in 1960.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who lives in Shrewsbury, is currently a member of the club.
Shaw said the club reached out to tournament organizers in August, and the tournament director spent three days visiting Worcester.
Shaw said he is not aware of anyone else in New England who has applied to host the 2025 Solheim Cup.
The golf course will get a bid packet from the Ladies Professional Golf Association in 2019, then have eight months to craft a bid. A decision will be made in late 2020 or early 2021.
Gov. Charlie Baker wrote a letter of support for the club. “We would welcome the opportunity to showcase our Commonwealth, rich in sports history and resources, and offer an unmatchable venue in the Worcester Country Club to the American and European professional women golfers who compete for the renowned Solheim Cup,” Baker wrote.
According to a state ethics filing, Polito recused herself and was not involved with the letter.
Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty also supports the bid and wrote a letter of support. “With hundreds of hotel rooms coming online over the space of five years, Worcester is becoming the kind of city that can host these sorts of large scale events that can bring hundreds of thousands of tourism dollars into our city,” Petty said in a statement.
Christina Andreoli, president of Discover Central Massachusetts, the regional tourism council, said the tournament would bring an estimated $10 million into the Worcester economy through spending on hotels, transportation and meals.
Worcester has been increasing the number of hotel rooms in the city, making it more suitable for hosting large-scale events.
“We fully support the event coming here. Now the question is, is the pitch good enough?” Andreoli said.
Andreoli said Worcester is also currently bidding on other major sporting events in rowing, baseball and lacrosse. “If we don’t put our name out there, you’ll never be able to get it,” Andreoli said. “It’s worth putting your name out there for a lot of things.”