SCOTLAND’S railway service ScotRail has been announced as the official train sponsor of next month’s Solheim Cup at the iconic Gleneagles in Perthshire.

The rail provider will provide promotional support for the biennial women’s golf contest, which takes place from September 9 to 15, pitting Catriona Matthew’s Team Europe against a Team USA, led by Juli Inkster.

Matthew, who is the European Captain and VisitScotland ambassador, is looking to return the trophy to Europe after an inspired USA team won in front of record crowds in Iowa in 2017.

The Solheim Cup is the most highly coveted trophy in women’s professional golf team competition.

Some of the most memorable moments in the sport have happened during past Solheim Cups, and berths on the European and US teams are highly sought-after by players from both organisations.

Lesley Kane, ScotRail commercial director, said: “We are delighted to partner the biggest sporting event in Scotland this year and one which promises to be a fantastic spectacle of golf.

“ScotRail has vast experience in helping people get to and from major sporting events in Scotland, including the 2018 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, where we were an official partner.

“Once again we look forward to contributing to the smooth running of the event’s logistics and helping spectators have an enjoyable experience of The Solheim Cup.”

Paul Bush, director of events for Visit Scotland, said: “Transport plays a vital role in the successful delivery of an event, so it is fantastic to have ScotRail on board as an official sponsor of The 2019 Solheim Cup.

“Their experience and track record of delivering large numbers of spectators to major events in Scotland will be invaluable and will reinforce Scotland’s reputation as a world-class destination for events.”

The 2019 Solheim Cup will not only showcase Scotland, the home of golf but also build on the legacy of the successful 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. It will underline that Scotland is the perfect stage for major golf events as it seeks to help inspire a new generation of children to take up the sport which was invented in their home country.

The Scottish Government is fully funding the 2019 Solheim Cup with a budget of up to £19m. VisitScotland heads the delivery of the project on behalf of the Scottish Government, working in partnership with stakeholders including IMG, Transport Scotland, Police Scotland, and Scottish Golf.

The Solheim Cup will be screened to more than 600 million homes worldwide with the match-play format aiming to engage both the traditional golf audience as well as wider sports fans, raising the profile of women’s golf both in Scotland and internationally.

The Scottish Government’s aspiration is that the 2019 Solheim Cup is the biggest ever European edition of the event.