Dundonald Links manager 'excited' by Irish Open switch Believes the schedule move is good for the Scottish Open He expects no less than 60,000 fans in Ayrshire next year
The general manager of 2017 Scottish Open host venue Dundonald Links says there is no reason to be concerned after the Irish Opens major scheduling switch.
Announced yesterday by the European Tour, the 2017 Irish Open will take place at Portstewart Golf Club in Northern Ireland from July 6-9, starting a three-week stint of golf in the UK followed by the Scottish Open and then the Open at Royal Birkdale.
And, despite a lot of the games big-name stars tending not to play three weeks in a row, Bill Donald isnt threatened by its pre-Scottish Open move and is relishing the challenge of being right in the middle.
A week before the Scottish is an interesting one but it means three weeks of quality links golf, the general manager told bunkered.co.uk. Youve got Portstewart and its wealth of history, Dundonalds modern links and then Birkdale which is a classic Open venue. Thats a pretty exciting package for any golfer.
How it fits into players schedules, I dont know, but certainly for those European Tour players its a very exciting three weeks of golf in front of huge numbers of spectators. Thats got to be good.
Players pick and choose, were all familiar with that. For those that have more of a free reign with their schedules, this signals an exciting venture and what better preparation for the Open than two weeks of links golf.
The last time the Irish Open was held in Northern Ireland at Royal County Down in 2015, more than 100,000 spectators turned out throughout the week. In contrast, this years Scottish Open at Castle Stuart attracted only 41,809 which was a drop of more than 20,000 from the previous four years.
So does this mean any extra pressure for Dundonald Links next year in terms of a much-needed improvement on last year and coming immediately after the Irish Open? Not according to Mr Donald.
To put it bluntly, we are expecting big crowds, he added. The Open is in England next year so I think its all geared up so I think that works in our favour and Dundonalds got good accessibility with it not being far from Glasgow and in a real hub of golf.
"We need to feel pride in that were representing Scotland" - Bill Donald
But on a wider scale, I want to see golf succeed. We need to feel pride in that were representing Scotland as well but if Portstewarts crowds are big which Im sure they will be Im not sure well look at it as pressure, more a cause for celebration if we all come out of it with significant crowds.
Three weeks on the European Tour of crowds hopefully above 60,000, I think we should all celebrate in the industry if we get that. Thats what wed like and well work exceptionally hard. Its a showcase event and well take our responsibilities very seriously.
Scottish Open :: Is the move a good thing?
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