WHILE still unconfirmed, the Scottish Open looks certain to be heading to Donald Trump’s course in Aberdeen – probably even for three years out of four from 2017.
Following The Scotsman’s story on Tuesday, speculation has intensified about the future venues for the Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored event.
It is definitely heading back next summer to Castle Stuart near Inverness, where the event was held for three years from 2011 after its long run ended at Loch Lomond.
The likelihood after that is for it to go to Trump International Golf Links at Balmedie, north of Aberdeen, in 2017, with the prospect of the event also being held there in 2019 and 2020.
That would leave 2018 as the only gap to be filled under the current contract involving the event’s three partners – the European Tour, Aberdeen Asset Management and the Scottish Government.
Dundonald Links near Irvine, Loch Lomond’s sister course, could get the nod for that, with the west being the missing part of the jigsaw at the moment in the plan to move the tournament around the country.
Holding it at the same course three years out of four would seem to undermine that intention, though there are two factors why it could well be in the pipeline. First, Trump’s Martin Hawtree-designed course is spectacular and, second, it’s likely the American billionaire is prepared to pay a hefty sum for the privilege, one that would give him the perfect chance to showcase the venue to a worldwide audience, including the US through NBC Sports.
“We are aware that there is speculation,” said Peter Adams, the Scottish Open championship director, in reference to a report claiming that a deal had been agreed for Trump International Golf Links to stage the event in 2017, 2019 and 2020.
“The situation is that we are talking to a number of clubs and Trump International is one of them. But there is no firm decision yet. It is still the intention to take the event to the west of Scotland in one of the years (between 2017 and 2020).”
Trump would love to stage a Scottish Open featuring Tiger Woods, who last played in the event as an amateur at Carnoustie in 1996 and couldn’t be enticed to Loch Lomond, Castle Stuart or Royal Aberdeen.
“We’ve had discussions about trying to get Tiger to play in the Scottish Open,” revealed Adams “I sat next to Mark Steinberg [Woods’ manager] at the European Tour dinner last month. He said Tiger was planning to play much more golf. Unfortunately, the Scottish Open is not in his plans this year but maybe that will change next year.”