SCOTTISH golf faces a nervous wait to see if Alex Salmond stepping down as First Minister has any effect on the sport in the game’s cradle.
It was Salmond who saved the Scottish Open losing its coveted pre-Open Championship slot to either France or Sweden, having roused support from Aberdeen Asset Management when the event’s future was under threat.
Amidst the referendum campaign, he also signed a document to open talks about the event’s sponsorship being extended to 2020 in a bid to build on some real momentum since it moved to a links course. Now, only time will tell if Salmond’s decision to relinquish his role as First Minister will see a change of attitude from the Scottish Government towards golf.
It’s to be hoped not. After Ryder Cups in Ireland and Wales, tournament golf has suffered badly in those nations. The Wales Open that finished on Sunday was the last for the forseeable future after the 15-year commitment to the event by Sir Terry Matthews ended.
That’s what happens when one person is the driving force. In Scotland, we’ve had Salmond and Martin Gilbert, the AAM chief executive, keeping golf strong and vibrant. Maybe not this week due to the Ryder Cup, but European Tour chief executive George O’Grady will be looking closely to see what impact, if any, that Salmond’s imminent departure in the wake of his referendum defeat could have, certainly in terms of the Scottish Open.