Keith Pelley, the chief executive of the European Tour has revealed that the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open will return to its traditional slot on the European Tour next season, taking place the week before The Open.
The coronavirus pandemic forced this year’s edition of the tournament to move from July to October.
However, speaking on the latest episode of The bunkered Podcast, Pelley revealed that the 2021 tournament will take place from July 8-11, the week before the 149th Open is staged at Royal St George’s.
He added that increasing the event’s stature will be something the European Tour will look to achieve as part of its new “strategic alliance” with the PGA Tour.
“The Scottish Open will go the week before the Open Championship,” said Pelley. “It’s ridiculously important to our tour. Scotland is the spiritual home of golf and it’s part of our DNA at the European Tour, so it is a very critical tournament that will only grow more and more.
“It’s a conversation, to be honest with you, that we’re having with the PGA Tour, about how we can make that event even bigger and even stronger going forward. It definitely has the best date in our schedule so I’m incredibly optimistic about how we’ll be able to grow it.”
Pelley didn’t divulge where the Scottish Open will take place in 2021 but bunkered.co.uk understands that returning to The Renaissance Club in East Lothian for a third successive year has been discussed, with Royal Aberdeen also thought to be in the frame to stage the tournament for the first time since 2014.
Full details will be revealed when the tour publishes its 2021 schedule next week. That schedule will feature the return of the UK Swing, which debuted on the European Tour this year following the initial COVID lockdown.
“The UK Swing is something that definitely worked and it definitely will be back next year,” added Pelley. “It will be a true UK Swing, with events in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and it will be a staple now on the European Tour schedule for many, many years to come.”
The expected loss of some events in Australia and Asia has left the tour with a handful of gaps to fill in the first quarter of the year but, beyond that, Pelley revealed that the schedule is jam-packed – so much so, in fact, that the tour has been unable to accommodate two proposed tournaments later in the year.
The schedule will also be more player-focused, with ease of travel a key priority.
“You learn a lot in something like a pandemic,” added Pelley. “It’s how you adjust and how you react that’s going to affect your future.
“I truly believe that the organisation has come out of this pandemic understanding a different way of operating and really a more efficient way of creating tournaments that we now own and control. Going forward, we will be less dependent on promoters and more in control of own destiny by producing tournaments ourselves.”