The famous Royal Aberdeen links will host the European Tour's prestigious Scottish Open championship in 2014.
Sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management, along with the Tour, has announced that the event – which is held the week before the Open Championship, and provides the last opportunity for players to qualify for golf's oldest major – will return to the Castle Stuart course outside Inverness next year, before moving to Royal Aberdeen the year after. The prize fund is also to increase from £2.5 million to £3 million.
Founded in 1780, Royal Aberdeen is the world’s sixth oldest golf club, originally designed by the Simpson brothers, Archie and Robert of Carnoustie, and re-bunkered and lengthened by James Braid. Hawtree is now engaged as the club’s architect to ensure the course keeps pace with the modern game.
“It was a straightforward decision to take up our option to return to Castle Stuart for the third year of our agreement,” said European Tour CEO George O'Grady. “The venue has been popular with the players and public alike and we are pleased to return there in July before moving to Royal Aberdeen. I had the privilege of watching the 2005 Senior Open and the Walker Cup in 2011 at Royal Aberdeen, a classic and challenging links course, which will continue in the tradition of great Scottish Open venues.”
The announcement will surprise many observers, who had expected the event to go to either the Tom Doak-designed Renaissance Club in East Lothian, or Donald Trump's new links, close to Royal Aberdeen. Sources close to the Trump course, though, have told GCA they believe the owner is not interested in hosting the Scottish Open.