First Minister Alex Salmond has opened discussions with Aberdeen Asset Management (AAM) and The European Tour to extend AAM’s sponsorship of the Scottish Open until 2020.
The tournament, one of The European Tour’s flagship events, has gone from strength to strength with spectator numbers up by a quarter since 2011, and a Memorandum of Understanding to enter talks was signed today.
The negotiations seek to extend AAM’s sponsorship beyond the current 2017 contract and continue to build on the already strong reputation of the Scottish Open.
The First Minister made the announcement at North Berwick Golf Club which will host next year’s inaugural Scottish Open pre-qualifying tournament. The 54-hole qualifying tournament will take place the week before the Scottish Open, being staged at Gullane, and will offer six Championship places to Scottish golfers.
First Minister Alex Salmond said:“Scotland is the Home of Golf; the historical origins of the game, our magnificent courses and stunning scenery all cement that reputation to fans across the globe. And with The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles just weeks away, the eyes of the golfing world are falling on Scotland.
“The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open has gone from strength to strength and is one of the most anticipated competitions on the Tour by players and fans alike.
“Aberdeen Asset Management’s tremendous support has had a huge hand in the tournament’s growth and the opening of these negotiations will hopefully see that fruitful partnership continue.”
Anne Richards, CIO of Aberdeen Asset Management said: “Today is an important landmark for Aberdeen Asset Management and for Scottish Golf. Everyone at Aberdeen is thrilled to continue our sponsorship of both the men’s and ladies’ Scottish Opens. As a company we are strong believers in equality and our support of these events demonstrates our commitment to both the men and women’s game alike. Our association with these tournaments helps to raise our brand profile not just in the UK but internationally, including the USA, a market which is a key focus for us as our business grows. We look forward to welcoming some of the world’s top players to Gullane and Dundonald next year.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Naturally, we welcome the opportunity to further develop our sponsorship agreements with our Title Sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management and The Scottish Government – our longest partner in Scotland – for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
“Following the initial agreement, announced at Edinburgh Castle in March 2012, our partners have gained outstanding value from their association with the Scottish Open and The European Tour. As we strive towards our agreed vision for the 2020 Scottish Open, I have no doubt that the continued commitment, drive and vision of Aberdeen and the Government, working in partnership with The European Tour, will continue to enhance this superb Championship each year.
“On behalf of The European Tour, I would also like to thank North Berwick Golf Club for agreeing to host the pre-qualifying tournament for the 2015 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open – North Berwick is a fitting links test to begin our inaugural Qualifying tournament and I am sure it will produce six worthy winners of a place in Scotland’s National Open.”
Frank Pratt, Club Captain at North Berwick Golf Club, said: “North Berwick Golf Club is delighted to be the chosen venue for the inaugural Scottish Open Pre-Qualifying Tournament in 2015.
“Established in 1832, the Club has a long and proud history of hosting Championship golf over our historical West Links. With views over the Firth of Forth, and of the nearby islands the course provides an excellent test of golf, and we look forward to welcoming all the qualifiers to North Berwick.