Next month’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open is to be played in front of a limited number of spectators as the European Tour trials the return of fans to its events.
The Rolex Series event at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian has been rescheduled from its usual July date to October 1-4 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will be permitted to welcome 650 spectators per day on Saturday and Sunday, in addition to players, caddies, limited media and essential personnel.
The controlled return of a strictly limited number of spectators follows the European Tour’s policy of playing events behind closed doors since the full resumption of the season in August, and will see the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open join a series of pilot sporting and cultural events being considered in Scotland, to help support the return of fans when it is safe to do so.
The 650 spectators per day on the weekend will be limited to daily general access ticket holders from Edinburgh and the Lothians. All previous ticket purchasers have been contacted to advise that their tickets will be automatically refunded, with those from Edinburgh and the Lothians given priority access to repurchase the limited number of tickets available under the new terms and conditions.
The proceeds from daily ticket sales will be donated to SAMH, which has been confirmed as the tournament’s official charity for 2020. SAMH works in over 60 communities with adults and young people providing mental health social care support, services in primary care, schools and further education.
As with all events for the remainder of the 2020 Race to Dubai, the Scottish Open will follow the European Tour’s stringent medical strategy and will be subject to Government and public health guidelines.
The tournament will follow an inner and outer bubble protocol to allow spectator access to the site. Players, caddies, media and essential staff will remain within the tournament or ‘inner’ bubble and be subject to the European Tour’s stringent testing and health protocols. Spectators will remain in a second ‘outer’ bubble to maintain distance from those within the tournament bubble. They will be subject to daily temperature checks and health questionnaires, and must follow stringent health protocols, including enhanced social distancing.
Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open Championship Director, Rory Colville, said: “We are very pleased to be able to welcome weekend spectators to the Renaissance Club this year, while abiding strictly by the European Tour health strategy and Scottish Government guidelines. While the numbers on site will be strictly limited to continue to minimise risk we will be able to offer Scottish golf fans the opportunity to watch their national open, which we and our valued partners at Aberdeen Standard Investments and the Scottish Government felt was important, if we were able to do so in a safe and controlled manner.”
He added: “It’s also gives us a great opportunity to tee off our partnership with Official Charity SAMH. We’re delighted to be able to support the important work that SAMH carries out in mental health support, social care and education across Scotland by donating the revenue from weekend tickets sold, as well as a host of other charitable activities in and around tournament week.”
The Scottish Government’s Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “I am pleased that the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open will take place in front of a limited number of spectators – a significant milestone for events in Scotland. I’d like to thank the European Tour and other partners for developing plans for this pilot event to be held safely, not just for the benefit of the spectators and players, but as a way of developing and shaping best practice, ultimately providing a pathway to the safe return of events as soon as we are able.
“Our events sector and our golf tourism industry are both hugely important to Scotland and this event will help play a role in their recovery. Participating in or watching sport is also beneficial to mental health. As such, I’m delighted to see SAMH appointed as the official charity, benefitting from all ticket sales revenue and raising awareness of the importance of mental health, particularly during these difficult times.”