• Ayrshire venue firmly in the frame for 2017 Scottish Open
• Negotiations are at an advanced stage, we have learned
• Decision set to be a blow to Trump Int Golf Links Scotland
2017 SCOTTISH OPEN
Dundonald Links in Ayrshire is the strong front-runner to host the 2017 Scottish Open, bunkered.co.uk has learned.
The course, which successfully staged the Ladies’ Scottish Open last year, is expected to fill the much anticipated south west void on the so-called Scottish Open links rota.
With Castle Stuart, Royal Aberdeen and Gullane having welcomed the event to the Highlands, North East and Lothians since it visited Loch Lomond Golf Club for the last time in 2010, speculation has been mounting over a possible home in Ayrshire or the south west of Scotland for the tournament.
A high-ranking source has told bunkered.co.uk that Dundonald Links looks likely to get that nod, with negotiations reportedly at ‘a very advanced stage’.
This pours cold water on reports last year that the tournament would go to Trump International Golf Links Scotland near Aberdeen. It had been suggested that the Scottish Open would be staged there in 2017, 2019 and again in 2020.
Indeed, at the official opening of the clubhouse at his Balmedie development in June last year, Trump himself said: “The Scottish Open is coming. The Scottish Open wants to be here forever, they think this is the best course they've ever seen.”
However, it is bunkered.co.uk’s understanding that, although Trump International Golf Links Scotland was discussed as a future host venue for the tournament, no deal was ever agreed.
Trump, above, has been embroiled in a long-standing legal battle with the Scottish Government – which co-sponsors the Scottish Open – over plans for an offshore windfarm off the coast of his Aberdeenshire course.
Related -> Trump defiant despite fresh wind farm defeat
Dundonald Links is owned by Loch Lomond Golf Club, which staged the Standard Life Loch Lomond event in 2000, followed by the Scottish Open from 2001 until 2010.
In March 2014, the club’s general manager, Bill Donald, revealed that discussions had taken place with the European Tour over the possibility of staging the tournament again but, this time, at its Kyle Phillips-designed Ayrshire course.
“Dundonald is set up for tournament golf and has been for a period of time,” noted Donald. “We all know the history of Loch Lomond and the Scottish Open is well documented and it seems like a natural progression that there was interest in the European Tour in the facility.
“They’re keen to have somewhere for the Scottish Open in the west and we seem to tick the boxes for them. When you’re friends and you know people, it’s an easy conversation to have and so we’re happy to support the possibility of the Scottish Open at Dundonald.”
Confirmation of the Scottish Open - when it comes - going to Dundonald is likely to accelerate plans to build a permanent on-site clubhouse and lead to some course modifications.
The 2015 Scottish Open was won by American star Rickie Fowler, pictured above.
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