The European Tour is delighted to announce that global investment management group, Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, is the new title sponsor of the Scottish Open.
European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady CBE, Aberdeen Asset Management Chief Executive Martin Gilbert and the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP, Scotland’s First Minister, revealed details of the three year agreement at a press conference held in the historic setting of the Queen Anne Room in Edinburgh Castle.
As well as Aberdeen Asset Management’s title sponsorship, the package includes Scottish Government funding to ensure the tournament continues to bring economic and sporting benefits to the whole of Scotland and helps nurture the next generation of golfing talent by linking the event to a programme of junior golf activities. This funding will also help the Scottish Government meet its obligations to back European Tour tournaments in the run-up to The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
The prize fund for the 2012 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open will be £2.5 million rising to a minimum of £3 million for the 2013 and 2014 tournaments.
The first tournament under the new title of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open will be played this summer at Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness from July 12-15, with the three year agreement seeing the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open also take its place on The European Tour International Schedule in both the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
The full focus of everyone involved is dedicated to ensure that this year’s tournament is a resounding success. The agreement with Castle Stuart is a three year one, split into two guaranteed years with an option to continue for a third year, and therefore no decision will be taken about the venue for 2013 or 2014 until the conclusion of this year’s event.
George O’Grady said: “We are delighted to welcome Aberdeen Asset Management, an eminent global company based in Scotland, as title sponsor of the Scottish Open, one of the most prestigious tournaments on The European Tour International Schedule which, this year, will once again be played on the spectacular links layout at Castle Stuart.
“We are also extremely pleased to welcome Scottish Government support. This commitment is another example of Scotland’s strong backing for European Tour events, and is part of the strong partnership that has developed in the build-up to The 2014 Ryder Cup.”
The global reach of the Scottish Open was a significant factor in Aberdeen Asset Management’s decision to take title sponsorship of the event. With the key objective of building the brand in the USA and across Europe, the tournament’s established reputation as a leading professional European Tour event proved a natural fit for the global asset manager.
The announcement also enhances Aberdeen Asset Management’s existing golf portfolio which currently includes the sponsorship of European Tour Members Martin Laird and Paul Lawrie and leading female professional Catriona Matthew in addition to the backing of the Scottish Men’s and Ladies amateur golf teams.
Martin Gilbert said: “We are delighted to announce our sponsorship of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. As a loyal supporter of Scottish golf for nearly 15 years, we are proud to be involved in sponsoring this globally recognised tournament.”
Last year saw Castle Stuart Golf Links become the seventh Scottish course to host the tournament since 1972; following in the footsteps of Downfield, St Andrews, Haggs Castle, Gleneagles, Carnoustie and Loch Lomond.
The Inverness venue – co-designed by managing partner Mark Parsinen and golf course architect Gil Hanse – debuted at number 56 in Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the World and received universal praise last July for the test it provided the world’s best golfers.
Fittingly, it was the Number One golfer in the world – England’s Luke Donald – who walked away with the 2011 trophy at the end of the week, a victory which not only enhanced his position at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking but also helped him lay the foundations for topping The Race to Dubai at the end of the season.
Donald has already confirmed he will be back to defend his title in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in July. “The Scottish Open is one of the favoured tournaments on The European Tour and I can’t wait to get back there,” he said. “Staging the event on a links course encourages a better field and to have some preparation on this type of course the week before The Open is what everyone is looking for.”
Supporting the announcement, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The Scottish Open is one of the flagship events on The European Tour as well as a jewel in the crown of the Scottish sporting calendar that attracts keen interest from golf fans across the world.
“I am therefore delighted to announce that Scottish Government funding, alongside major sponsorship from Aberdeen Asset Management, has helped secure the future of this prestigious tournament for Scotland.
“This fantastic event brings significant benefits to the whole of Scotland, both in terms of tourism revenue and the priceless television exposure around the world to golfers and others interested in travelling to our shores. Last year's tournament alone was worth more than £5m to the Scottish economy.
“Not only will today's announcement ensure these benefits continue, but our agreement to link the tournament to a programme of junior golf events and our innovative ClubGolf programme will also help our efforts to drive participation in the sport and unearth the next generation of Scottish golfing stars.
“Scotland is already recognised worldwide as the Home of Golf, and with The Ryder Cup set to be played at Gleneagles in 2014 as well as the new commitment to the iconic Scottish Open announced today, everyone in this country can look forward to a bright future for Scottish golf.”