All eyes were on Ayrshire last week as the world’s best golfers descended on Royal Troon for the AIG Women’s Open – and it did not disappoint.

It was the first time that the iconic links course had held the prestigious women’s major having held the men’s Open nine times in its illustrious history.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Women’s Open was played behind-closed-doors without any spectators.

This was most noticeable on Sunday when Germany’s Sophia Popov walked up the 18th hole knowing she was about to be crowned a major champion for the first time in her career yet there were no cheering fans to greet her.

Ayrshire golfing enthusiasts who were lucky enough to be at Royal Troon for The Open in 2016 will remember the rapturous noise generated from the grandstands as Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson’s duel went down to the wire.

You could not help but feel sorry for the 27-year-old that she was deprived of that opportunity to soak in the atmosphere and share her success with all the fans.

Despite that, The R&A and Royal Troon along with every other organisation involved in the smooth operation of this year’s Women’s Open deserve enormous credit for their efforts in ensuring the tournament could go-ahead.

COVID-19 has provided a logistical nightmare yet millions of viewers across the globe were treated to a fairytale on our doorstep that only major golf could write.

Popov’s victory was remarkable for so many reasons.

Just three weeks earlier the world number 304 was a caddie for her friend and she only qualified for the Women’s Open two weeks ago. Imagine telling her then that she would be a major champion in a couple of weeks’ time.

But perhaps it was written in the stars that Popov would claim victory on the famous Ayrshire links.

At one stage in her career she felt like packing it all in due to health issues but she had form in Troon – just not our Troon - as she triumphed in a development tour event in May at Troon North Golf Club in Arizona.

Popov’s victory capped off a thrilling four days of action.

Normally, when major championships are in town, they bring a huge boost to the local economy but this was not possible.

Despite this, our region has once again shown to the world everything it has to offer with world class golf courses and stunning scenery albeit the weather is unpredictable as the players soon found out.

Every time the cameras cut away to show the surrounding areas of our coastline you could not help but appreciate what we are lucky to have on our doorstep.