These are the top 10 most memorable moments from women's golf over the last 12 months, by Harriet Shephard.
For all its difficulties, 2020 brought with it some brilliant moments for women's golf.
The women's game has grown enormously over the last 12 months and we've made huge progress. So narrowing down the 10 best moments was no easy task.
But without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my ten most memorable moments from the last (and hugely eventful) year in women's golf.
1) The creation of the Rose Ladies Series
The W&G team will remember the day we first saw Justin Rose’s tweet announcing he was creating the Rose Ladies Series forever.
The English-based tour thrust women’s golf into the spotlight and gave the players the respect and recognition they so desperately deserved.
It was an absolute triumph from start to finish, taking in some of the finest courses in England including Wentworth, Royal St George's and JCB.
Perhaps most importantly, it also gave the players the chance to compete while the LPGA and Ladies European Tour (LET) were paused.
Since then, we’ve seen a huge increase in male golf stars like Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy tweeting support for the women’s game, and we think it’s partly thanks to the Roses and the buzz they created.
Oh and best of all, updates on the 2021 Series are rumoured to be released early next year…
Thank you to everyone on the Rose Ladies team for making it happen!
2) Sophia Popov moved us to tears with her fairytale major win
Sophia Popov’s win at the 2020 AIG Women’s Open was the ultimate triumph against the odds.
Ranked 304th when she secured her major title and with no LPGA status, she was the lowest ranked player to ever win a major.
The German-born player also admitted that she had struggled with her health for years before finally being diagnosed with Lyme disease, and that she nearly quit golf last year.
Her victory was an absolutely fantastic, fairytale-like story. And the perfect example of why you should never give up on your dreams.
3) Emily Pedersen made the comeback of the year
After starting the year at 511 in the rankings, 24-year-old Danish star Emily Pedersen went on to became the first LET player in over 30 years to win three back-to-back tournaments.
In fact, she's only the second player in the history of the Tour to ever manage it, and she did it by following up her amazing double win in Saudi Arabia by securing the title at the Spanish Open and topping the Race to the Costa Del Sol.
Leaving 2020 she has risen an incredible 440 places up the rankings to 71st.
2020 was many things, but it was certainly the making of Emily Pedersen.
And the best bit is she's just getting started.
4) Annika Sorenstam was appointed first female president of the IGF
Widely considered to be the greatest female golfer of all time, Annika Sorenstam is a hero and inspiration for many of us.
But this year the 72-time winner was elected into a new role that will allow her to make an even bigger impact on the world of golf.
The 51-year-old will be the first ever female President of the International Golf Federation.
Stepping into the position on January 1 2021, her responsibilities will include leading the planning for the Tokyo Olympics.
Thank you Annika for leading the way once again.
5) Mel Reid got her first LPGA win, and popped the question
We were all ecstatic when Mel Reid got her first LPGA victory at the ShopRite Classic.
As many of you will be aware, Mel suffered an awful tragedy in 2012 when her mum was killed in a car crash on her way back from watching her play.
In the years that followed she dropped to 333 on the World Rankings, and she has since admitted that she was a ‘mess’ and ‘hitting the self-destruct button’ with her constant partying.
It makes her rise back up the rankings and her recent win all the more significant.
She also ended the year by popping the question to her girlfriend Carly Grenfell (obviously she said yes!).
It's so great to see her life taking such a positive turn.
6) Muirfield joined the AIG Women’s Open rota
Just before the 2020 AIG Women’s Open was due to kick off, the R&A announced that the next five major tournaments would take place across the bastions of the men's game: Carnoustie, Muirfield, Walton Heath, St. Andrews and Royal Porthcawl.
Muirfield didn’t welcome its first female members until only last year, and the fact that it is now hosting a women’s major is MASSIVE.
It showed that finally, all of the most prestigious golf clubs in the country are stepping up and supporting the women’s game.
Ideally, it shouldn’t have taken until 2020 for this to happen, but we’re so glad it has.
We can’t wait to watch the women tearing up these venues over the next few years.
7) Wildfires added extra heat to TWO events
The Grand Final of the Rose Ladies Series at Wentworth was so hot it literally caught fire.
Yes, the most memorable image of 2020 has to be this one of Gabs Cowley calling for help as a wildfire raged behind her on the West Course.
The blaze was reported to have started on Chobham Common before spreading over the railway lines and near to the 10th tee.
At around 5pm, part way through the final round of the hugely successful series, all players, caddies and staff were evacuated (nobody was hurt either thankfully).
We the course remaining closed for days and nearby homes evacuated, the event was eventually concluded with the scores from Round 2, meaning that Alice Hewson won the Grand Final and Charley Hull is the winner of the American Golf Order of Merit.
It wasn’t an ending that anyone could have predicted, but if anything it made the Series even MORE memorable and further propelled women’s golf into the national news.
Oh, and the Portland Classic was also shortened to three rounds because of fires too. What a year…
8) We saw the first female winner at a UK mixed-gender event
The fact that mixed golf become so popular this year was a highlight in itself.
The Clutch Pro Tour, 2020protour and the Tartan Tour let the best female British players compete against the men and show what they can do.
The W&G team were all desperate for one of them to have a female winner and luckily, we didn’t have to wait long.
Ellie Givens won the 2020protour event at Rockliffe Hall in July, tying for the top of the leaderboard with Andrew Wilson.
It was also extra special because it was first professional win and at her home club.
With the first mixed-gender English U18 Championship and the Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik & Annika coming up next year, we’re so happy to see the trend for gender-equal competitions getting bigger and bigger.
9) Carly Booth put male chauvinists in their place
There’s nothing more annoying than dim-witted men accusing women's golf of being 'boring', calling the female players 'not as talented' as the men or worst of all, demanding that they should 'go back to the kitchen'.
Well, Carly Booth took one for the team and answered all the trolls and male chauvinists absolutely brilliantly.
She teamed up with bookies Paddy Power to produce a hilarious advert that mocked all the idiots who think they could beat all the LPGA players “with their eyes closed.”
Unsurprisingly, it struck a chord with many people and Carly's tweet about the advert got over 2,000 likes.
10) Laura Davies made her 40th start at the Women’s British Open
Yes, you did read that correctly...
Laura Davies played her first Women's British Open as a 16-year-old amateur in 1980, 20 years before a large majority of the current LET and LPGA Tour players were born, and she made her 40th start at Royal Troon back in August. She was also given the honour of hitting the opening tee shot.
40 years ago the suggestion that venues like Royal Troon, Muirfield and Royal St. George’s would one day host professional women’s tournaments will have seemed utterly ridiculous.
It was a moving and significant moment when she hit that first shot, and I was lucky enough to be there and watch her do it.