Ladies Scottish Open loses long-time sponsor Aberdeen Standard Investments

Hopes remain high for a positive future for the Ladies’ Scottish Open despite Aberdeen Standard Investments pulling the plug on its title sponsorship after a 12-year run.

Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn poses with the trophy after winning the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open at Gullane in 2018. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.

The Scotsman can exclusively reveal that the Edinburgh-based company’s name will be missing from the event’s title for the first time since 2008 when the Ladies European Tour schedule for 2021 is announced on Friday.

The tournament has grown in stature since it became co-sanctioned with the LPGA in 2017, which was also the first year it was staged at the same venue as the men’s Scottish Open as part of sharing the same title sponsor.

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Before stepping down as chairman last September, Martin Gilbert hinted that the time may have arrived for the two events to be staged at different venues again.

Stacy Lewis after winning the 2020 Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.

However, in a recent development, it has now emerged that ASI is no longer set to be associated with the women’s event, which is yet to confirm a venue for its 12-15 August staging.

That is the week before the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie, where the race for spots on Catriona Matthew’s European team to defend the Solheim Cup in Ohio in September will reach its conclusion.

A spokesperson for Aberdeen Standard Investments said: “We have recently reviewed our marketing priorities and spend to better align with Standard Life Aberdeen’s growth strategy.

“As part of this, we will no longer be sponsoring the Ladies Scottish Open. This was a commercial decision based on best aligning our resources to support the long-term success of our business.

“The Ladies Scottish Open is a fantastic event, and we’re proud of the success it has had during the 12 years we’ve been title partner.”

The first Ladies’ Scottish Open under the Aberdeen Asset Management banner was held in 2008 at The Carrick.

The event then had a five-year run at Archerfield Links, where Matthew won twice, the first time by a resounding 10 shots, as well as Carly Booth.

It moved to Dundonald Links in 2015 before securing co-sanction status two years later, with the prize fund jumping from $75,000 to $225,000.

It was then held at Gullane in 2018 before the last two events were staged at The Renaissance Club, with American Stacy Lewis winning the 2020 edition.

While the loss of ASI as title sponsor is undoubtedly a huge blow, the event’s remaining partners, including the Scottish Government and VisitScotland, are committed to securing its future.

As was illustrated around the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, the Scottish Government and VisitScotland are keen to play a part in the growth of the women’s game in tandem with the R&A.

A tournament spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the remaining event partners, including the Scottish Government, VisitScotland, the LPGA, the Ladies European Tour and IMG, remain 100 per cent committed to this important women’s sports event.

“Together, we will be doing all we can to secure a new title sponsor for the tournament, which remains a hugely appealing proposition on the women’s sporting calendar.”

The men’s Scottish Open has been sponsored by ASI since 2012 and has been one of the European Tour’s Rolex Series events since 2017.

The 2021 edition will be held under the ASI banner at The Renaissance Club for the third year running on 8-11 July.

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