THE Scottish Challenge has become the envy of every other event on the Challenge Tour by clinching a deal that has secured its future through to 2018.
Through a partnership involving Scottish Hydro and Macdonald Hotels, the event will be heading back to Aviemore for at least four more years after this week’s 2014 edition at Spey Valley.
“This means the Scottish Challenge will be played on the same course with the same sponsor for ten years in a row,” said Alain de Soultrait, director of the Challenge Tour. “This is unprecedented over the last 25 years on the Challenge Tour, where the life of tournaments is normally fairly young. They can change sponsor or venue after four or five years.”
First held at Murcar Links in 2006 before moving to Macdonald Cardrona for two years, the event has grown in stature since finding a home on the Dave Thomas-designed course in the shadow of the Cairngorms.
De Soultrait added: “In terms of prize-money [just over £200,000], it is just outside the top five on the circuit. As far as the players are concerned, however, it is one of our ‘majors’ and this will help us build up the tournament even more.”
World No 37 Stephen Gallacher, himself a Challenge Tour graduate, has been made an “ambassador” for the event.