World class sport will return to the north of Scotland next summer, and today many of the agencies associated with the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open assembled at Castle Stuart Golf Links in Inverness to welcome the return of one of golf’s biggest events to the area.
The 2016 tournament will be played over the highly acclaimed Castle Stuart course on the banks of the Moray Firth, just a few miles from the Highland capital city, from July 7-10 and represents the eagerly-awaited return of an exciting festival of golf to one of Scotland’s most spectacular coastlines.
Additionally, the ticket office is now open for business and substantial discounts are available for golf fans who purchase season or day passes before December 31, 2015.
Between 2011 and 2013, more than 180,000 spectators enjoyed the first three editions of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart, annually attracting a field of global golfing superstars to the Inverness venue.
England’s Luke Donald captured the title in 2011 in style while Jeev Milkha Singh of India claimed the crown in 2012 in a play-off with Italy’s Francesco Molinari. Then in 2013 Phil Mickelson planted the Stars and Stripes in the Highlands by defeating Branden Grace after a play-off to land his first Scottish Open title, just seven days before adding The Open Championship to his illustrious CV.
Mickelson’s famous ‘flop shot’ to secure the title is still a priceless piece of imagery, which secured the Californian’s place in the tournament folklore during those three superb years on the Moray Firth.
Following on from Castle Stuart, the tournament has taken to the road, moving to Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, where Justin Rose triumphed in 2014, and most recently to Gullane Golf Club in East Lothian, where another high profile American, Rickie Fowler, prevailed in a dramatic climax seven weeks ago. Fowler, familiar in orange as always on Sunday, produced a stunning finish at Gullane, birdieing three of the last four holes – including a brilliant approach at the 18th – to hold off Ryder Cup team-mate Matt Kuchar and Frenchman Raphaël Jacquelin.
Fowler’s popular success simply added to the star studded list of champions who have claimed an emotional victory in Scotland, the Home of Golf.
Next year’s return to Inverness is already being eagerly anticipated by golf followers and officials alike, with the city and the surrounding area ready to embrace the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open with the same enthusiasm and vigour which accompanied those previous visits.
The European Tour’s Peter Adams, Championship Director for the event, commented: “We are all thrilled to be returning to a wonderful golf course in Castle Stuart. The combination of a beautiful links course, and the tremendous support we anticipate from the Highland community to supplement that of our key stakeholders, should ensure another great Scottish Open in 2016.”
Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “ Castle Stuart holds a very special place in our hearts having been the venue of the Scottish Open during our first year as title sponsor. We are looking forward to returning to Inverness in 2016 for another incredible tournament where top-class golf is presented to the world with a stunning Scottish backdrop.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “The policy of moving the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open around the country has proven to be extremely popular. Not only does it allow us to share the economic benefits which come with hosting an event of this stature, it also allows us to showcase a number of our magnificent golfing regions to a global audience.
“The Highlands is an incredible place to visit and to play golf and I have no doubt that Castle Stuart will once again show the world why this part of Scotland is a must-visit golf tourism destination. The fact that the event is returning to the Highlands for a fourth time is a tribute to the entire Highland community, who have embraced the event in past years and made it an irresistible choice for our partners at The European Tour to return.”
Stuart McColm, General Manager of Castle Stuart Golf Links, said: “The return of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open to Castle Stuart is a hugely exciting prospect for golf fans and the wider community. The event’s three-year run here brought out fantastic crowds and was seen by a worldwide audience of more than 500 million and we expect the 2016 event to further enhance the Highlands’ reputation as a major golfing destination.”
Alison Wilson, Head of Business Engagement, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “HIE sees the return of the Scottish Open to Castle Stuart as a real opportunity, not only to bring new visitors to the area and directly benefit local businesses but also to showcase the region on the world stage.
“We will build on the positive experience of last year’s Ryder Cup to attract businesses to the event and to our area, and plan to develop an associated business engagement programme for companies attending, to raise awareness of the range of exciting developments across the region and the benefits of locating and doing business here in the Highlands and Islands.”
Councillor Audrey Sinclair, Chair of Planning, Development and Infrastructure at The Highland Council, said: “The Highland Council is delighted that the Scottish Open is making a welcome return to Castle Stuart in 2016. In recognition of the event's international importance the council recently approved £33,000 to assist with its organisation.
“We will work closely with our local partners, Castle Stuart and The European Tour to ensure the 2016 event is another outstanding advertisement for the Highlands. We hope that local businesses will again rise to the occasion and encourage the Tour and others to consider holding future events at Castle Stuart".
Alan Rawlinson, Business Tourism Manager at VisitInvernessLochNess, said: “The return of the prestigious Scottish Open at Castle Stuart gives us a wonderful opportunity to showcase Inverness and the surrounding area, including of course Loch Ness, to the world.
“The thousands who attend the event and the millions from across the globe who watch on television will be treated not just to some fabulous golf, but also to spectacular Highland scenery which can only encourage more visitors to this beautiful part of Scotland.”
A season ticket for the 2016 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open can be purchased for £60 If purchase before December 31, 2015 – a saving of £20. Any One day tickets are priced at £25, saving £10.
Concessions (60 and over) start at £40 for a season ticket and £15 for any one day tickets, if purchased by December 31. Under-16s accompanied by an adult are admitted free of charge, and all car parking is also free. Entry to the ‘Tartan Wednesday’ Pro-Am on July 6 is £8 in advance.
To book tickets, visit www.europeantour.com/tickets or call 0800 023 2557.
Corporate Hospitality Packages are also available, please contact Robert Gordon on 01344 840538 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to request a brochure.
Further information can also be found at www.aamscottishopen.com @AAMScottishOpen