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• Scottish Open attendance falls by more than 20,000
• It has been between 60-65,000 for the past four years
• “I don’t want to dwell on disappointment,” said Stuart McColm


Castle Stuart general manager Stuart McColm says it’s important not to dwell on this week’s Scottish Open attendance figures – despite a nosedive of more than 20,000.

A total of 41,809 visited the Highlands venue during the course of the week,  a sharp decline on the 2012 and 2013 stagings, with 63,363 and 65,528 respectively – the latter of which was when Phil Mickelson broke his Scottish Open duck by defeating Branden Grace in a play-off.

In the two stagings of the Scottish Open in between, 65,833 were at Royal Aberdeen and 63,030 were at Gullane – while this week’s attendance was less than half of the 85,921 who were at Loch Lomond in 2009.

“It’s always disappointing but I’m sure there are factors and we’ll have to analyse that – and I’m sure the European Tour will be analysing that too,” said Stuart McColm. “But I don’t want to dwell on the disappointment because there’s a huge amount of positivity.”


Castle Stuart Golf Links

Factors likely to have had some form of impact on the attendance figures were, first and foremost, the weather, with rain falling for large parts of both weekend rounds. The field was slightly weaker due the compact summer schedule and there was plenty other sport on, particularly on Sunday, with the Euro 2016 final, Wimbledon final and British Grand Prix.

For Padraig Harrington, he put it down to the first of those three factors. “Weather,” he told “The forecast was miserable and it was miserable. What can you do? The crowds were good, they were very supportive, but you need the weather to get the big numbers out. “

However, like McColm said, there was plenty of positivity, which largely came in the shape of glowing comments from two of the biggest names in the field – Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell. The American reiterated after his final round that ‘Castle Stuart is one of my favorite golf courses anywhere’, while earlier in the week, McDowell retracted comments the ‘too easy’ comments he made about the course in 2013.


Phil Mickelson

“When you get ambassadors of the stature of Phil Mickelson and G-Mac saying things like that – and even Soren Kjeldsen who I spoke to and he told me he loves it – it’s fantastic,” added McColm.

“The course coped really well this week and even with the 45mph gusts, on most courses that would be stopping play so to actually get through with no balls running off greens, it was testament to our agronomy team.

“The course has grown up a little bit and it’s certainly been a bit more of a test but not too much. We still want it to be a fair test ahead of the Open and I think that’s what this week’s Scottish Open has been.”

Scottish Open attendance figures :: Your thoughts

What do you make of this week’s Scottish Open attendance figures? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.


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