- Agreement is another boost for golf in Scotland
- Six major championships already to be staged in Scotland
VisitScotland has revealed it is set to continue its support for the Scottish Open through to 2020 after a deal was reached to extend the sponsorship of the event for an additional three years.
Supported by the Scottish Government, the agreement means that there will be at least one European Tour event guaranteed to take place in Scotland every year through to 2020 and, in the process, provides another significant addition to the world-class golf events set to be staged in Scotland after the successful hosting of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September.
The Scottish Government has pledged £1 million of support per year through to 2020, with title sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management also continuing their sponsorship to the same date.
The new agreement will also see the tournament prize fund rise from £3 million at Royal Aberdeen this year, to £3.25 million in 2015 and 2016; £3.5 million in 2017 and to a minimum of £4 million in 2018. Prize funds for 2019 and 2020 will be confirmed at a future date.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: "This is a superb deal for Scottish golf and I'm delighted that we have managed to secure the tournament's future for another three years.
"The Scottish Open is a tournament which is already well established and highly regarded, and the world's top players have been extremely complimentary of the challenge that Scotland's magnificent links courses provide ahead of The Open. This deal will keep it in that key spot on the golfing calendar, meaning top stars, as well as golf fans from across the world, will continue to be attracted to our shores to participate in this iconic event.
"This year's competition was worth around £6 million to Scotland, highlighting the economic benefits that it brings to the whole of the country. But there's also the sporting benefit of having Scotland's future golf stars being inspired by watching a world class competition taking place on their doorstep."
Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: “We are delighted with Scotland’s extension of support for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and look forward to continuing the staging and promotion of top-class golf events through to at least 2020.
“Hosting world-class golf events not only reaffirms Scotland’s position as the Home of Golf, but delivers significant economic impact as well as substantial marketing opportunities to promote Scotland to worldwide audiences as a leading golf and tourism destination.”
Scottish Open has bright future
The next two host venues for the Scottish Open have already been confirmed with the competition preparing to head to Gullane in East Lothian in 2015, where it will be played across a composite course for the first time.
Following on from there, the Scottish Open will then return to Castle Stuart, where it was staged between 2011 and 2013, with several of the country's top courses, including Dundonald Links, vying to host the tournament between 2017 and 2020.