Gullane ruled out as Scottish Open venue in 2019 and 2020

Gullane, this year's venue, will not be hosting the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Opens as well either next year or 2020 despite that having become a strong rumour in East Lothian.

Martin Gilbert of Aberdeen Standard Investments. Picture: Graham Flack
Martin Gilbert of Aberdeen Standard Investments. Picture: Graham Flack

It has become a pattern in recent years for the men’s event to move around the country, with Gullane, Castle Stuart, Royal Aberdeen and Dundonald Links all having staged it since leaving Loch Lomond in 2010.

In a first, Dundonald Links in Ayrshire hosted both the men’s and ladies’ tournaments a 
fortnight apart last year and the same arrangement will be in place at Gullane in July.

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In the build up to that double-header, it has been mentioned locally that last year’s merger between Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management had raised a strong possibility of the 2019 events being held in East Lothian, close to the 
company’s main headquarters in Edinburgh, as well.

However, they will not be returning to Gullane as early as that and also not in 2020, pointing to the next year’s tournaments being held in the north-east, with Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay and Trump International Golf Links all believed to be in the running.

“As wonderful an event as it is – and we are delighted to be hosting it this year – Gullane are most definitely not hosting the Scottish Open in 2019 or 2020,” club secretary David Morgan confirmed to The Scotsman.

The men’s event involves a partnership between Aberdeen Standard Investments, the Scottish Government and the European Tour, with the current contract running through until 2020.

Through that arrangement, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has a say in picking future venues along with Martin Gilbert of Aberdeen Standard Investments and European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.

Responding to the recent rumours, a spokesperson for the European Tour said: “No decision on future venues of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open has been taken beyond this year, although a number of potential venues across the country are under consideration. Our focus at present is on delivering a successful championship on our return to Gullane in July.”

During last year’s event, Gilbert, pictured, spoke enthusiastically about the possibility of Cruden Bay being added to the list of venues while, at the same time, appearing to rule out the Trump course north of Aberdeen due to his term as US President.

“We’d love to go back to the Aberdeen area at some stage (Royal Aberdeen hosted the event in 2014) and, if we went back, we’d look at various courses,” said Gilbert. “The (European) Tour have been to see Cruden Bay. The thing is there we’d have to do a composite-type course.

“Trump, I don’t need to tell you, is a great golf course, but there are issues if we went there. The worst thing would be if he came! No decision has been made but look, there are clear issues, shall we say. Politics aside, Trump would be an ideal venue, but you can’t put politics aside. That is the issue, so we will wait and see.”

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers pinpointed exactly the same issues earlier this week when he was unable to throw any light of when Turnberry, which is also owned by Trump, might stage the Open Championship again after it was last held there in 2009.

Royal Aberdeen’s hopes of welcoming back the Scottish Open received a boost last week when its members voted to admit women for the first time after 238 years.