Scottish Open returns to Castle Stuart for 2012
Johor Bahru (Malaysia): The European Tour has confirmed the Scottish Open will retain its customary position on the calendar after the tournament`s future was cast in doubt following the withdrawal of the event`s main sponsor.
Barclays ended its 10-year association with Scotland`s premier event after this year`s tournament and despite fears that it may be moved to a new timeslot and lose prize money, the 2012 edition will retain its traditional July date.
This year`s tournament was moved to Castle Stuart after being held at Loch Lomond from 1996 and European Tour chief operating officer Keith Waters said the links course near Inverness would continue to host the event
"The European Tour will maintain the 2012 Scottish Open event at Castle Stuart and also it will retain its date in the week before the Open Championship," Waters told reporters in Malaysia ahead of this week`s co-sanctioned Iskander Johor Open.
"And while the Tour is still in discussion with sponsors, we can also assure the total prize money will be the same as this year, and that is three million pounds (USD 4.7 million)."
After Barclays` surprise withdrawal, a number of other tournament administrators were keen to secure the event`s place on the calendar but Waters confirmed the stunning Gil Hanse designed course will host the tournament from July 12-15.
Eight-times European Tour order of merit winner and Europe`s victorious 2010 Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie was delighted to hear the event would again be played on the Inverness course.
"It is very good news the Scottish Open remains locked in to the week before The Open and I`m delighted the Tour has confirmed that," he said.
"We were all a little shocked when Barclays withdrew their sponsorship but then the Tour have indicated they are talking to new sponsors and in this economic climate that is very comforting."
World number one Luke Donald won this season`s event, reduced to 54 holes because of poor weather, and Montgomerie feels the venue presents a perfect challenge so close to the third major of the season.
"Castle Stuart is a stunning new course and while we were very unlucky with the weather this year, it will be good to go back there next year as it is an ideal warm-up for The Open.”
"My only advice to organises is that the course needs to be toughened and that means tightening the fairways."