The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open has been given a significant boost with the news that title sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management and the Scottish Government have jointly committed their future to the tournament through to 2017.
The unique tri-party partnership between Aberdeen Asset Management, the Scottish Government and The European Tour has created a successful strategy for the development of the championship and will result in an increased prize fund, from its current level of £3 million, to £3.25 million in both 2015 and 2016, before a further increase to £3.5 million in 2017.
Also included in the arrangement is a commitment to return to Castle Stuart Golf Links in one of these three years, reflecting the success the championship has enjoyed in the Highlands of Scotland over the past three seasons. Following that, the intention is to establish a rota of leading venues.
The immediate future of the championship was, of course, confirmed last September when Royal Aberdeen was announced as the venue for the championship in July 2014.
Following Castle Stuart, Royal Aberdeen will be the eighth different venue to host the Scottish Open since 1972, having previously staged a successful 2005 Senior Open Championship when Aberdeen Asset Management was the presenting sponsor. It was a championship won by Tom Watson, the man who will captain the United States in The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP, the First Minister of Scotland, said: “I am delighted that the future of the Scottish Open has been secured up until at least 2017. This fantastic event has become a popular fixture on The European Tour and provides ideal preparation for some of the world’s best players before the following week’s Open Championship.
“I’m proud of the Scottish Government’s continuing support for this event which brings significant benefits to the whole of Scotland, both in terms of tourism and television exposure, while also providing a multi-million pound boost to the economy.
“The Scottish Open’s time at Castle Stuart in particular demonstrates the event’s high return for the Highlands and for that reason I am particularly pleased the competition will return to this course. It is a great vote of confidence in golf and the people of the Highlands in their ability to stage major international events. And of course it will be the turn of Royal Aberdeen next year.
“There will also be substantial benefits in store for two other golfing areas as the work now begins on identifying host courses for the two remaining competitions and if they deliver as resoundingly as Castle Stuart then Scotland’s reputation not only as the Home of Golf but also as the Future of Golf will be greatly enhanced.”
Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive Officer of Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “We’re thrilled to be continuing with this sponsorship. We’re two years into our current three year agreement and we’re extremely happy with what the tournament has delivered for our brand both in the UK and internationally; at Aberdeen we’re long term investors in our day to day business and this sponsorship is no different.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “The European Tour is delighted to secure the renewed commitment for the Scottish Open, one of the premier events on our International Schedule, through to 2017.
“It is a testament to the strength of the partnership we have developed with the Scottish Government through the vision of the First Minister Alex Salmond and Aberdeen Asset Management through the commitment and support of Martin Gilbert. Through that, we have delivered not only significant tournament growth but also the knowledge that the future of the event is in good hands.
“We thank Castle Stuart for their hard work and hospitality over the past three years and everyone associated with The European Tour looks forward to returning here to the Highlands in the future.
“We are also looking forward very much to our first visit to Royal Aberdeen for the Championship next July, thus responding to the wishes of the players by ensuring that the tournament takes place on a links course the week before The Open Championship.”
The Scottish Government has committed to provide support to the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open under the Scotland Home of Golf banner. The funding also supports Scotland’s commitment to staging major golf tournaments as the Host Nation of The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
Delivered by organisations including EventScotland, VisitScotland, Scottish Development International and Scottish Golf, the Scottish Government is committed to enhancing Scotland’s reputation as the Home of Golf. This includes; supporting economic and business growth within the Scottish economy, driving increased participation in the sport and helping to nurture the next generation of Scottish golfing stars by linking the Scottish Open to the Clubgolf programme of junior golf activities.
Under the Scotland Home of Golf banner, EventScotland supports a number of domestic golf events including The Open Championship, the RICOH Women’s British Open, the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, the Johnnie Walker Championship, the Scottish Hydro Challenge and the SSE Scottish Seniors Open.
For more information on the Scottish Government and its partners: www.scotland.org | www.eventscotland.org | www.visitscotland.com | www.scotent.co.uk | www.sdi.co.uk | www.scottishgolf.org | www.clubgolfscotland.com
Aberdeen Asset Management www.aberdeen-asset.com