Scotland will celebrate the return of international events in the coming two weeks with the staging of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the AIG Women’s Open, underlining the country’s commitment to women’s sport.
Both championships will be held as TV-only events behind closed doors at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian and Royal Troon in Ayrshire respectively. They represent the first international events to take place in Scotland – and the first tour-level women’s events anywhere in the UK – since lockdown.
As key partners in both events, VisitScotland and EventScotland have worked alongside organisers and Scottish Government health advisers to ensure comprehensive and robust plans are in place to allow them to take place as safely as possible.
The events are seen as a key milestone in Scotland’s phased social and cultural recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, taking on additional significance following Scotland’s successful hosting of The 2019 Solheim Cup and its commitment to women’s sport.
While spectators are not permitted to access the event, the broadcast coverage will ensure Scotland’s reputation as ‘The Home of Golf’ is highlighted to audiences in the UK and further afield as a world-class destination, for future golf travel plans when permitted.
Every effort has been made to keep people and local communities safe with players, caddies, officials, organisers and broadcast personnel making up the few hundred people permitted within the ‘bubble’, restricted to access the course, practice facilities and hotels. Daily testing and additional hygiene measures are in place.
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Paul Bush, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic did not discriminate on the basis of gender with events across the sporting calendar cancelled or postponed. But as some green shoots of recovery have started to appear, there is no doubt that finance and infrastructure associated with men’s sport has allowed it to plan its restart more quickly and with more immediate success than its female counterparts.
“The importance of these two golf events cannot be overstated. In Scotland, like many other countries, our events sector has been decimated so their return, albeit as made-for-TV only, will be a significant boost. As well as showcasing our scenic coastlines to a global audience to support our vital golf tourism industry and inspire international visitors to come when the time is right, they have been crucial in identifying key factors and best practice for the phased return of events.
“It is a fitting legacy, which underlines Scotland’s commitment to women’s sport, that in the year following the best-ever Solheim Cup the country can still stage these two women’s championships in the most trying of circumstances.
“Central to that has been the commitment and dedication of both IMG and The R&A as organisers of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the AIG Women’s Open respectively. Through close collaboration with the Scottish Government’s clinical advisers, they have developed comprehensive plans and protocols involving a bio-secure bubble which have given Scottish Ministers the confidence that both events can proceed.
“Aberdeen Standard Investments and AIG as title sponsors of both events also deserve enormous credit for maintaining their investment and support when the easy option would have been to defer it for future years. Both organisations have underlined their commitment to women’s golf and Scotland is proud to stand alongside both in supporting the return of the women’s game.”
The Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open will take place at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian from August 13-16 with the AIG Women’s Open being held the following week at Royal Troon in Ayrshire from August 20-23.
VisitScotland recently launched a golf marketing campaign to encourage all levels of players here to get out and support the fantastic variety of courses and golf regions, which included a film voiced by leading commentator Andrew Cotter.
For further information on VisitScotland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.