EAST Lothian will stage both the Scottish Open and Scottish Seniors Open this summer after an official announcement is made today about the latter moving to Archerfield Links.
An initial two-year deal, which has the option of a two-year extension, has been struck between the club and the European Senior Tour, with the pair sharing a vision to create an over-50s equivalent of the long-running Dunhill Links.
To be held on 27-29 August with a prize fund of £250,000, the event will be a pro-am format for the first two rounds before the field of 60 professionals contest the final 18 holes on their own.
As was the case with the Ladies Scottish Open when it was staged at the Dirleton venue for five years from 2010, the tournament will be played on the Fidra Links. It and the neighbouring Dirleton Links were both designed by DJ Russell, who is the Senior Tour’s committee chairman and will be lining up himself later in the year. So, too, will the likes of former Masters champion Ian Woosnam, who is no stranger to Archerfield Links, having hosted an annual charity event there for a number of years now.
Since being launched in 1993 at Royal Aberdeen, the Scottish Seniors Open has visited Newmachar, Marriott Dalmahoy, The Roxburghe near Kelso and, most recently, Fairmont St Andrews, where it was staged for the last six years.
Winners include Tommy Horton, Brian Huggett, Neil Coles and Sam Torrance, while Englishman Mark Davis claimed his maiden Senior Tour title at Fairmont St Andrews last year.
“The Scottish Senior Open is one of the longest-running tournaments on the schedule and we are delighted to be visiting a new venue this year in Archerfield Links, which will be a magnificent course for our leading players to contest this prestigious title,” said Andy Stubbs, managing director of the European Senior Tour.
“The tournament will witness a new format this year enabling amateur golfers to play alongside some of the legends of the game and we must thank VisitScotland for their continued support, as well as East Lothian Council and Archerfield Links for hosting us for the first time.
“Archerfield Links has complemented a rich golf tradition in this area and we are excited to be coming here, especially as it has such a strong connection with DJ Russell, our chairman.”
The announcement means the area known as ‘Scotland’s Golf Coast’ will be hosting two national Opens in the space of eight weeks, with Gullane, of course, set to stage the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open for the first time on 9-12 July. In between, the Scottish Amateur Championship is also being held at Muirfield.
“It’s a fantastic year for East Lothian,” said Councillor John McMillan, cabinet spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism. “Hosting tournaments of this calibre keeps us firmly on the map as one of the best places in the world to enjoy playing and watching the game of golf. It’s a great boost to our local economy, too.”
Keen to maintain the impetus built up by the successful staging of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles last year, VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay is pleased to see another tournament confirmed for the home of golf in 2015, when St Andrews will host the Open Championship then, a fortnight later, the Ricoh Women’s British Open takes place at Turnberry.
“We are delighted to see the Scottish Senior Open move to yet another outstanding venue at Archerfield Links,” he said. “East Lothian is renowned for being home to some of the best courses anywhere in the world and with the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open taking place at Gullane this year, as well as a number of other events throughout Scotland, it promises to be another hugely exciting summer of golf in the region and across the country as a whole.”
Since it opened in 2004, Archerfield Links has earned widespread acclaim for ticking every possible box, both on and off the course, and now CEO Tom Younger is excited about the new chapter about to start as far as it being a tournament venue is concerned. “We are delighted to be working with the European Senior Tour on staging the Scottish Seniors Open,” he said. “It truly is an honour for us to host this event, especially when you look at some of the previous winners, and it will be really wonderful to see some of these great champions back in action at Archerfield this August.
“I don’t think the buzz has left the area since the Open at Muirfield in 2013. I think the courses have all grown in stature on the back of that. It’s fantastic that we have the Scottish Open coming to Gullane for the first time and now we’ve added to that with the Scottish Seniors Open.
“Our vision, one that is shared by the Senior Tour, is to create a Seniors’ Dunhill and we believe that would be an exciting addition to the European schedule.”