In 2017 the Honourable Company of Golfers at Muirfield lifted an out-of-step ban on women becoming members of the club. This morning it plays host to the opening day of the fifth golf major of the season the AIG Women’s British Open.

Ireland’s Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow are both in the field with Maguire going out today at 12:27 alongside two-time Major champion Lydia Ko. Meadow’s group, with former Open winner Mo Martin goes out 90 minutes later.

The prize money for the tournament comes in at €7.2 million with just over €1 million for the winner. That is around 50 per cent of the total prize money that was on offer for the men at St Andrew’s last month, but it is 26 per cent up on what was the purse in 2021.

Muirfield is regarded as the best test of the British Open roster of venues and has staged the Men’s Championship 16 times, the last of which was in 2013 when Phil Mickelson was the winner.

The Women’s Open was first played in 1976 and has been contested at many of the main courses including St Andrews, Turnberry, Royal Troon and Carnoustie.

Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew won at Royal Lytham and St Annes in 2009 and will hit the first tee shot today having grown up only a good nin-iron away from the gates at Muirfield where she once worked as a marshall and a litter picker.

In the 1980’s it was sponsored by Pretty Polly, Hitachi and Burberry before a seven-year stretch under the banner of Weetabix and then 17 years without a commercial partner.

Ricoh brought that drought to an end in 2011 and stayed on board for eight years.

AIG then came on board in 2019 and have been to the fore in raising the profile of the event.

Other ‘patrons’ with an investment in the tournament include HSBC, Mastercard, Mercedes Benz, NTT Data, Rolex, Suntory and Toyo Tires.

Full coverage of the tournament from today through Sunday can be seen on Sky Sports.