Scotland’s home-based PGA professionals can look forward to playing for more money this year, following the unveiling of the 2014 Tartan Tour schedule.
Unveiled at Dundonald Links earlier today, where a brand new event - the P&H Championship - will launch the Virgin Atlantic Order of Merit Series next month (and also, no doubt, test Dundonald's credentials as a potential future Scottish Open host venue as has been mooted), the schedule comprises numerous events across the country.
And, though he refused to be drawn on exactly how much Scotland’s pros would be playing for this year, PGA in Scotland secretary Brian Mair did say he would be ‘disappointed if the total tour finished shy of £700,000.’
“That’s we’re aiming for,” added Mair. “What I can say confidently is that we’ll have an increase in prize fund on the Tartan Tour this year against last year.
“I’d like to think this makes us one of the most lucrative domestic tours and there’s still some way to go yet.”
Mair was also coy on suggestions that the tour was ‘edging towards’ finally achieving a total prize fund exceeding £1m.
“There’s nothing wrong with having targets and aggressive targets at that,” he said. “However, it’s not the be all and end all, so we’ll see what the future brings.”
The Gleneagles PGA Scottish Championship returns to the King’s Course at Gleneagles this year but with a new date, May 5-7, whilst the Northern Open - backed this year by the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre - will take place from June 16-19 at Murcar Links.
Old favourites, the Deer Park Masters Pro-Am and the Kerr Investments Pro-Am, return in August, whilst the Paul Lawrie Invitational becomes an order of merit event for the first time this season and takes plays at Deeside in September.
"P&H will bring benefits not only to the Tartan Tour but also to our club professionals the length and breadth of the country" - Brian Mair
Two more order of merit events, one at Duddingston in July and another at Hayston and Cawder in August, complete the Virgin Atlantic Order of Merit Series, although Mair added: “I am hopeful we will add a couple more Tartan Tour events before the season commences.”
The P&H Championship - facilitated in no small part by former European Tour pro Stephen McAllister, pictured above with Mair as well as Graham Menzies and George Ross from P&H - is an exciting new addition to the schedule for this year. The £50,000 event has been secured for an initial three-year term and Mair believes it will create some excitement amongst the Tartan Tour’s leading players.
“We are delighted to have agreed this deal,” he said. “Palmer and Harvey are the UK’s largest delivered wholesaler and their involvement will bring benefits not only to the Tartan Tour but also to our club professionals the length and breadth of the country.”
The announcement of the new tournament and more prize money across the Tartan Tour is further evidence of the good work done by Mair since he became secretary of the PGA in Scotland just under a year ago.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” he acknowledged. “It’s a really important year for us but 2015 will prove to be even more important for everyone involved in the game in Scotland, as we build on the legacy we aim to create over the coming months.”
Tartan Tour 2014: Full Schedule
To view the 2014 PGA in Scotland Tartan Tour schedule, click here.