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East Lothian is once again this week hosting some of the best European golfers and broadcasting Scotland’s Golf Coast to an international audience.
The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open represents the first European Tour event held in Scotland since the golfing calendar resumed amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Following the successful staging of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, also held at The Renaissance Club, the men’s event continues the return of golf events to Scotland, the Home of Golf.
It is the strongest European Tour field of the year so far with leading names Tommy Fleetwood, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood, Matt Fitzpatrick and Danny Willett all taking part.
There will be a strong Scottish contingent for home fans to cheer on from their living rooms, with 15 Scots playing, including former Open Champion and Ryder Cup stalwart Paul Lawrie, Ryder Cup star Stephen Gallagher and rising talent Bob McIntyre – who won the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award on last season’s Race to Dubai. Each of the Scots in the field will be hoping to become the first home champion since Colin Montgomerie triumphed in 1999.
Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger returns to defend his title as is England’s Eddie Pepperell who was runner up at Gullane in 2018, hoping to go one step better this time around.
Like the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, the men’s event will be played as a behind-closed-doors event after plans to allow around 650 spectators per day were cancelled due to enhanced restrictions announced in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure the safety of players, officials and the wider community, the event will operate strictly within a bio-secure bubble with strict testing and monitoring measures in place throughout.
While spectators won’t be allowed onsite, fans can follow the action via a global network of broadcasters including both Sky Sports and the BBC in the UK. The global coverage, which will have a reach of 500 million homes worldwide, will ensure East Lothian’s place as part of Scotland The Home of Golf is further established in the minds of golfers looking to test themselves on the best courses in the country, with facilities and stunning coastline that can rival any premier golf destination. And while those watching around the world cannot visit in the short term, it will whet their appetite for a trip when it is safe to do so.
It is the 4th time the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open has been held in East Lothian after visits to Gullane in 2015 and 2018 and a debut at The Renaissance Club in 2019. VisitScotland has supported the event since 2007, becoming title sponsors alongside Aberdeen Standard Investments in 2012.
Support of the game’s biggest events underpins VisitScotland’s goal to promote the country on a global stage. The national tourism organisation’s recent golf marketing campaign has been encouraging all levels of players here to get out and support the fantastic variety of courses and golf regions, which included a film voiced by leading commentator Andrew Cotter.Neil Christison, Regional Director of VisitScotland, said:
“While it is disappointing the spectator test event could not go ahead, it is a significant boost to Scotland’s Golf Coast that our fantastic East Lothian venue and scenery will be on show to the televised audience once again.
“The Renaissance Club is a stern test of golf for even the top players and we expect they’ll enjoy playing the course and staying in the region immensely.”
Watch the action live on Sky Sports and highlights on BBC and keep up-to-date online.
Not including the staging of events, the economic value of golf tourism to East Lothian is £21.5 million supporting 635 jobs.
For further information of VisitScotland’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, go to https://www.visitscotland.org/supporting-your-business/advice/coronavirus
Major champions and Ryder Cup stars taking on Scotland’s golf coast