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Scottish Open prize fund cut, as new sponsors named

By Andrew Dixon

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Luke Donald won the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart last summer.
Luke Donald won the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart last summer.

THE prize fund for this year’s Scottish Open golf championship has dropped by £500,000 and there are no guarantees it will be held at Castle Stuart next year.

The revelations were included in an announcement that global investment management group, Aberdeen Asset Management, is the new title sponsor of the tournament which will be held from 12th to 15th July.

Banking giant Barclays blamed market forces when it ended its nine-year sponsorship of the event six months ago.

The new deal will last for three years and the prize fund for this year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open will be £2.5 million, rising to a minimum of £3 million for the 2013 and 2014 tournaments.

Last year’s Barclays Scottish Open — won by world number one ranked golfer Luke Donald — had a prize fund of £3 million. It was the first time the event had been staged at Castle Stuart.

"The full focus of everyone involved is dedicated to ensure that this year’s tournament is a resounding success," said a European Tour spokesman.

"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."

The sponsorship 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 — helping Holyrood meet its obligations to back European Tour tournaments in the run-up to the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014.

"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," said first minister Alex Salmond.

"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."

The European Tour’s delighted chief executive George O’Grady welcomed government support and the new main sponsors, while Aberdeen Asset Management’s chief executive Martin Gilbert was proud to be involved.

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