THE Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open will return to Castle Stuart Golf Links for the third successive year in 2013 before moving to a brand new venue, Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, in 2014.
In making the announcement, The European Tour and their key partners - title sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management PLC and the Scottish Government - have confirmed a significant increase in the prize fund for 2013 and 2014 from £2.5 million to £3 million with the champion receiving £500,000.
The new title sponsorship was launched in the historic setting of Edinburgh Castle at the end of March by Martin Gilbert, CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management, Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond, European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady and Aberdeen Asset Management Ambassador, Paul Lawrie, who will compete in his second Ryder Cup next week.
Jeev Milkha Singh of India captured the first tournament under the new title of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in July after a play-off with Italy’s Francesco Molinari, succeeding Luke Donald of England who won the 2011 event on his way to finishing the year as The Race to Dubai champion.
The title sponsor, the Scottish Government and the Tour were eager to take this early opportunity to make public full venue details for the next two years of the sponsorship agreement.
Castle Stuart will host the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open for the third successive year from July 11-14, 2013. In 2014 Royal Aberdeen will stage an event on The European Tour International Schedule for the first time from July 10-13 over the classic Balgownie links.
Founded in 1780, Royal Aberdeen is the world’s sixth oldest golf club, originally designed by the Simpson brothers, Archie and Robert of Carnoustie, and re-bunkered and lengthened by James Braid. Hawtree and Company are now engaged as the club’s architects to ensure the course keeps pace with the modern game.
It will be the eighth different venue to host the Scottish Open since 1972, having previously staged a highly successful 2005 Senior Open Championship, with Aberdeen Asset Management as Presenting Sponsor, won by Tom Watson, and the 2011 Walker Cup match won by Great Britain and Ireland.
The global reach of the Scottish Open was a significant factor in Aberdeen Asset Management’s decision to assume the title sponsorship, with the key objective of building the brand in the USA and across Europe.
Meanwhile the Scottish Government were delighted to lend their full support with funding which ensures the tournament continues to bring economic and sporting benefits to the whole of Scotland and facilitates the process of cultivating a new generation of young golfers through its programme of junior initiatives. The funding also helps the Government meet its obligations to back European Tour tournaments in the build-up to The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “We are delighted to announce details of the outstanding venues for the next two editions of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and to confirm a 20 per cent rise in the prize fund to £3 million for 2013 and 2014.
“It was a straightforward decision to take up our option to return to Castle Stuart for the third year of our agreement. The venue has been popular with the players and public alike and we are pleased to return there in July before moving to Royal Aberdeen. I had the privilege of watching the 2005 Senior Open and the Walker Cup in 2011 at Royal Aberdeen, a classic and challenging links course, which will continue in the tradition of great Scottish Open venues.”
Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “We were immensely impressed with how Castle Stuart staged the 2012 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, the first of our three year sponsorship, and we are delighted to be returning there in 2013 to enjoy a similarly successful tournament. I am also sure that Royal Aberdeen Golf Club will provide a challenging and picturesque setting in 2014 as it displays the best of links golf and is a fitting host for this great tournament.”
Scotland’s First Minister, the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP, commented: “I warmly welcome the news that the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open is to be staged at Castle Stuart for a further year, before moving to Royal Aberdeen for the staging of the 2014 tournament.
“Scotland offers the very best links golf in the world, and confirmation the Scottish Open is to remain on a coastal course will help the tournament build on its prime position in the golfing calendar by continuing to attract some of the world’s top players preparing for the rigours of The Open Championship."
Mark Parsinen, Managing Partner of Castle Stuart Golf Links said: “We are delighted that The European Tour will once again return to Castle Stuart for next years’ Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and look forward to presenting another top class event.
“After four wonderful days of competition this year it is a pleasure to be able to continue our successful working relationship with The European Tour, giving the Highlands community another chance to see these world class golfers competing on their own doorstep.”
Ronnie MacAskill, Secretary, Royal Aberdeen Golf Club said: “We are delighted to have been invited by The European Tour to host the 2014 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. Since its earliest beginnings in 1780, the club has fostered the game of golf in the area and, over the past century, staged many national and international events at Balgownie.
“However, this is the first leading Tour event to be staged on our historic links and in 2014 we will see some of the world’s greatest players test their skills on what is considered by many to be one of the finest stretches of natural classic links land anywhere in the world. Our members and the Aberdeenshire public will be treated to a golfing bonanza and I am certain that everyone in the area will give their 100 per cent support to this superb event.”