DONALD Trump could be set to become a Scottish Open host after hinting that an announcement was in the pipeline for either Turnberry or, more likely, his course in Aberdeen.
It is already known that, after next month’s visit to Gullane, the Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored tournament is heading back to Castle Stuart, near Inverness, next year.
I think you’ll be hearing something about that pretty soon, actuallyDonald Trump
The plan for 2017 involving the event’s three partners – AAM, the European Tour and the Scottish Government – was believed to have involved taking it to the west coast, with Dundonald Links a possibility.
However, The Scotsman understands that may not now happen until the following year, with Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen having become a strong contender in 2017.
While the American billionaire was keeping things close to his chest regarding future tournaments either there or at Turnberry, where he visited yesterday to open a new $10 million clubhouse, he seemed to suggest an announcement was on its way.
“Well, we’ll see what happens,” he replied to being asked if there were any plans for tournaments other than the Open Championship at Turnberry, though it remains unclear when it will return to the Ayrshire venue, having last been staged there in 2009. “I think you’ll be hearing something about that pretty soon, actually.”
Designed by Martin Hawtree, Trump’s course on the Menie Estate, north of the Granite City, has earned rave reviews, having been laid out in spectacular dunes.
It certainly wasn’t just built for golfing visitors to the game’s cradle and staging the Scottish Open, especially as it has now become a popular event among the world’s top players as they prepare for the following week’s Open Championship, would see its profile rocket, especially as that event is now shown live on American television.
As for Turnberry, it will be showcased for the first time since coming under the Trump umbrella when it stages the Ricoh Women’s British Open in July. It will be the last big event to be staged on the Ailsa Course before it closes for major renovation by another of the game’s renowned architects, Martin Ebert.
How quickly that work settles in will probably determine when the Open Championship heads back to Turnberry for a fifth time, but Trump doesn’t seem to be a man in any rush, believing whatever wait lies ahead will be worth it in the long run.
“We’re leaving that to the R&A,” he replied to being asked on an update with progress on the Claret Jug event. “We are giving them the finest canvas in the world. It will be up to them. We are working with them very closely. I can tell you they (the R&A) love it, and it’s the players’ favourite course.
“The sensitivity of what we are doing is very important. This is a very, very exciting development. The Royal & Ancient has been absolutely incredible. [R&A chief executive] Peter Dawson gave us tremendous advice and worked with us closely. We love this place, and we very much look forward to having the Women’s British Open here this year, and we look very much to having very many great championships here in the years to come.”
The renovation of the clubhouse completes the first phase of a two-year extensive upgrade to the entire resort, and Trump admitted: “I gave him (son Eric) an unlimited budget, and he exceeded it!” Smiling, Eric replied: “It’s true. It’s about 10 million dollars.”