The European Tour’s ability to beef up its summer swing of events has earned The Forecaddie’s respect, with the upcoming Scottish Open the strongest success story of all. Driven largely by Aberdeen Asset Management CEO Martin Gilbert’s love for the game, the event has moved around to top Scottish links, procured American network coverage and established itself as a must-play stop before the British Open.
With Rolex Series backing and a prime date, the event should be fine for years to come. But The Man Out Front grew a wee bit concerned when hearing about the upcoming announcement of a two-year deal to take the tournament to East Lothian’s The Renaissance Club.
While TMOF has nothing against the ultra-private Tom Doak design, it’s fairly light on the kind of links characteristics players will see this year at Gullane or other venues played since the tournament moved from Loch Lomond.
The news is also a bit deflating given the European Tour’s consideration of Cruden Bay as the 2019 venue, which might have been one of the boldest venue selections in professional golf history.
The Scottish Open’s upcoming move is all about the sponsor. When Aberdeen Asset merged with Edinburgh-based Standard Life, it appears Gilbert had to assure future sponsorship of the men’s and women’s Scottish Opens by staying close to Standard Life’s headquarters.
A devout student of the game and lover of links golf, Gilbert undoubtedly knows some players will be less enamored with the Scottish when it moves to a more Americanized course.
Gilbert is undoubtedly banking on The Renaissance Club’s hospitality, conditioning and proximity to Edinburgh’s airport to more than assuage today’s more fickle players, who might miss the pure-links preparation but will appreciate relaxed logistics.
The Forecaddie? He’s just glad the Scottish Open should keep building on its well-earned reputation thanks to the rare sponsor sensitive to what makes players tick along with the privilege to revitalize a fine championship. Gwk