The Scottish Open is about to go stratospheric.
From next year, the home of golf’s national open will be co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour and European Tour. It will also have a brand new title sponsor in the shape of luxury car brand Genesis.
The newly-named Genesis Scottish Open will continue to be staged in its traditional summer slot, the week prior to The Open, through to and including 2025 and will now award points for both the FedEx Cup and Race To Dubai. A venue for next year's tournament is yet to be announced.
The tournament will also benefit from the continued commitment of the Scottish Government, managed by VisitScotland.
“We are delighted to welcome Genesis as a title sponsor of a European Tour event for the first time,” said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley. “Genesis has a strong history of sponsorship on the PGA Tour through The Genesis Invitational, and their commitment to the Scottish Open will further enhance one of our premier events of the season.
The news is a monumental shot in the arm for the Scottish Open. Long identified as one of the premier events on the European Tour, it was part of the inaugural European Tour schedule in 1972, Neil Coles defeating Brian Huggett at the second hole of a sudden-death playoff at Downfield.
Since 2011, it has been staged exclusively on links courses and has proven itself to be the ideal prep for the following week’s Open Championship. Ernie Els, Darren Clarke, Phil Mickelson and, more recently, Collin Morikawa have all played in the tournament before winning the Claret Jug in the same two week spell.
Paul Bush, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said, “We are thrilled the European Tour and PGA TOUR have identified the Genesis Scottish Open to further develop their Strategic Alliance, and there is no more fitting stage than Scotland, the Home of Golf, on which to embark on such a historic journey.”
Today’s announcement is the first significant joint step taken by the PGA Tour and the European Tour since they went public with their ‘Strategic Alliance’ last November.
The two bodies have also announced that the World Golf Championships series – introduced in 1999 – will comprise only two events from next year: the WGC-HSBC Champions in China and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Cut from the schedule are the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational and the WGC-Workday Championship.
The reduction in WGCs could be seen as a direct response by the PGA Tour and European Tour to a proposed breakaway circuit being championed by Saudi Arabian investors. The group recently claimed a stake in the Asian Tour, which is part of the International Federation of PGA Tours that stage the World Golf Championships.
The PGA Tour is robustly opposed to cooperating with groups which might challenge its place as the game’s leading and most lucrative professional circuit.
In a boost for the Irish Open, the PGA Tour has committed to almost doubling its prize fund. It will now offer a $6million purse but it will not be co-sanctioned – at least, not yet.
Elsewhere, two PGA Tour events - the Barbasol Championship and Barracuda Championship - will now be co-sanctioned with the European Tour and, like the Genesis Scottish Open, offer both FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai points.