England’s Melissa Reid will be among a host of international players competing at the £300,000 ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club, Denham, on August 16-18.
Last month’s winner of the Raiffeisenbank Prague Golf Masters, who is currently ranked 49th in the women’s world golf Rolex Rankings, Reid will be one of the star attractions at the tournament.
On her preparations, she said: “I’ve been working hard this week on my game. I’ve spent a day and a half with Dave, my coach, so I hope to be in reasonable shape. We spent one day at Woodhall Spa which is great for short game practice. It’s been nice to practice in some decent weather for a change! Away from the course I’ve been fairly busy with my new puppy that I got last weekend. Her name is Poppy and she’s a cockapoo.”
Reid, who was a member of Europe’s successful Solheim Cup team in Ireland last September, is hoping to feed off the energy of the home crowd and added:
“It’s great playing in the UK and in front of a home crowd. Hopefully plenty of fans will come out to watch, and I will have quite a few family and friends around during the week.”
The Buckinghamshire Golf Club – the home of the Ladies European Tour – provides an excellent, challenging parklands course created in 1992 by John Jacobs OBE, founding father of The European Tour and twice Ryder Cup captain. John O’Leary, the former Irish Open champion and Ryder Cup player, has been Director of Golf for 15 years at the venue which has hosted several leading tournaments including The Senior Tournament of Champions on the European Senior Tour from 1996 to 2000. Reid has played at the club in practice several times.
“I like the course; I think it’s a good test. The greens are great so I can hope, rather than expect, to play well. I’ve not got the training in over the past few weeks that I’d like to have done, so my preparation has not been quite as I’d have liked ideally,” she said.
“I wasn’t expecting to win in Prague, but it was obviously extremely special. I’m sure it helped that my expectations were not too high, and they are not this week either so perhaps that will be a good thing again!”
The ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters will provide another global platform for the honourable philosophies of the title sponsor and its Chairman Dr Haruhisa Handa.
ISPS, the International Sports Promotion Society, was founded by Japanese philanthropist Dr Handa in 2006 to support charitable causes throughout the sporting world. Together ISPS and Handa have fostered partnerships with a number of golfing governing bodies, most recently with its high-profile sponsorship deals on The European Tour International Schedule for the ISPS Handa Wales Open – won in June at the Celtic Manor Resort by Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee – and on the European Senior Tour at the ISPS Handa PGA Senior Championship – won at the De Vere Slaley Hall by England’s Paul Wesselingh.
In all ISPS is sponsoring eight events over the course of 2012 as a platform to raise the profile of blind and disabled golfers around the world and a wider mission for golf to become a Paralympic sport.
Reid commented: “I think that any sport that’s in the Summer Olympics should also be in the Paralympics. I don’t see why they wouldn’t be. ISPS’s mission to achieve that is fantastic and I hope through the tournament at the Buckinghamshire we can help to increase that awareness for a great cause.”
The ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters is being played the week following The London Olympics and thoughts of representing Great Britain in the Olympics in Rio in 2016 are clearly on Reid’s mind.
“Having watched the Olympics as much as possible over the past couple of weeks, I am so excited at the prospect of golf being included for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. More than ever, I want to be there and be part of that amazing family that comes together in the village for the games. It would be awesome to meet the athletes from different sports and compare notes, training and lifestyles.
“It would be great to think that we can raise our profile towards the levels that so many of the Olympians from the games have done. People such as Laura Robson, Shanaze Reade, Laura Trott and Nicola Adams, who perhaps weren’t so well known before these games but who have increased awareness of what they do. Hopefully we can do the same thing and help people to understand how dedicated we are to our sport and how hard we train. We are lucky that golf is such a healthy sport and if we can encourage younger kids to take it up it will be better for them in terms of living a healthier life and good for our sport in that it will strengthen the future generations coming through.”
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased via Ticketmaster Click here for tickets with the venue ideally located adjacent to both Denham train station and Junction 1 of the M40.