The Scottish Hydro Challenge received a massive boost as the tournament teed off at the Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Course in Aviemore, with the announcement of a new three year sponsorship deal.
The new agreement will see Scottish Hydro remain the title sponsor of the tournament, with Macdonald Hotels and Resorts playing host to the €220,000 event until at least 2014, the year The Ryder Cup returns to Scotland.
Supported by Scottish Government agency EventScotland as part of that successful 2014 Ryder Cup bid, the Scottish Hydro Challenge is currently the third richest event on the Challenge Tour Schedule and has, since its inception in 2006, become one of the most significant dates on the calendar, with four of its five former champions winning a European Tour card on the back of taking home the title.
Scottish Hydro’s support of the professional game in the Home of Golf is hugely significant with the energy giant also launching ‘Team Scottish Hydro’ earlier this year.
Team Scottish Hydro is essentially a sponsorship and support network set up to offer financial and management support to five Scottish players – Gavin Dear, Chris Doak, Craig Lee, Callum Macaulay and Jamie McLeary – in the hope that those players will develop into European Tour champions.
Alistair Phillips-Davies, Energy Supply Director for Scottish Hydro, said: “We are delighted to extend our agreement with the Scottish Hydro Challenge for the next three years. The tournament has been a big success in Scotland and we hope that this new agreement, coupled with the launch of Team Scottish Hydro earlier this year, will further underline our commitment to Scottish golf.
“We believe that our investment in the Scottish Hydro Challenge, and indeed Team Scottish Hydro, is giving emerging Scottish talent a platform to showcase and develop their abilities and we hope to see the benefits of that investment over the next three years.”
Ruaridh Macdonald, Sales and Marketing Director for Macdonald Hotels, said: “Since we moved the Scottish Hydro Challenge to our Spey Valley Golf Course in Aviemore the tournament has gone from strength to strength. The feedback we receive from the Challenge Tour professionals regarding the quality of the golf course is very positive.
“The Spey Valley Course, designed by Dave Thomas, is a magnificent piece of golf course design and we are very proud to see many of Europe’s most exciting young players make their way to the Highlands to experience a first class venue and, of course, Scotland’s world-class hospitality.”
Robbie Clyde, Ryder Cup Project Director for EventScotland, said: “This is really fantastic news for the Scottish Hydro Challenge and a timely boost ahead of this week’s tournament.
“Part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to securing The 2014 Ryder Cup was the promise to stage a Challenge Tour tournament in Scotland in the build up to 2014, and indeed EventScotland’s commitment now is to extend this funding through to 2018 to ensure there is a strong legacy for this event beyond 2014. The real strength of this event is the solid partnership built around EventScotland, Scottish Hydro, Macdonald Hotels and the European Challenge Tour, and this has proven to be a huge success as the Scottish Hydro Challenge is now one of the biggest events on the Challenge Tour.
“This new agreement will run until 2014 when The Ryder Cup arrives at Gleneagles and who knows, we may have a 2014 Ryder Cup star playing at Spey Valley this week. “
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the European Challenge Tour, said: “This is great news for a tournament that is already one of the most important on the Challenge Tour. The support of Scottish Hydro will enable the Scottish Hydro Challenge to maintain, and hopefully improve, its status as one of the richest, and therefore most significant, events on our Schedule while the Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Course is a magnificent stage for our players to show their talents.”