European Tour Notebook: Scottish Open to Castle Stuart and Aberdeen

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club
Courtesy of the European Tour
Founded in 1780, Royal Aberdeen is the world’s sixth-oldest golf club.
By news services

Series: European Tour

Published: Saturday, September 22, 2012 | 10:56 p.m.

VIRGINIA WATER, England -- The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open will return to Castle Stuart Golf Links for the third successive year in 2013 before moving to a brand-new venue, Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, in 2014, the European Tour has announced.

In addition, the event’s prize fund will increase by 20 percent, from $3.125 million to $3.75 million with the champion receiving $625,000, for 2013 and 2014.

Jeev Milkha Singh of India captured the 2012 edtiion in July after a playoff with Italy’s Francesco Molinari, succeeding Luke Donald of England, who won the 2011 event on his way to finishing the year as the Race to Dubai champion.

Castle Stuart will host the Scottish Open for the third successive year on July 11-14, 2013. In 2014, Royal Aberdeen will stage a European Tour event for the first time on July 10-13 over the classic Balgownie links.

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 and Co. are now engaged as the club’s architects to ensure the course keeps pace with the modern game.

Royal Aberdeen will be the eighth different venue to host the Scottish Open since 1972. It previously staged the 2005 Senior British Open won by Tom Watson, and the 2011 Walker Cup match won by Great Britain and Ireland.

The Scottish Government will provide funding that ensures the tournament continues to bring economic and sporting benefits to Scotland and facilitates the process of cultivating a new generation of young golfers through its program of junior initiatives. The funding also helps the government meet its obligations to back European Tour tournaments in the build-up to the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

VOLVO GOLF CHAMPIONS HEADS FOR DURBAN: The third edition of the Volvo Golf Champions will take place at Durban Country Club in South Africa, officials have announced. The European Tour’s ‘Tournament of Champions’ will be the first event of the new year, and will be played Jan. 10-13, 2013, with the most valuable purse on the African continent. In 2012, the prize fund was $2.6 million, and the 2013 prize fund will be announced in late October.

Durban Country Club is a renowned championship venue that has hosted the South African Open on 17 occasions. It enjoys beautiful vistas overlooking the Indian Ocean and, with its undulating fairways, lush vegetation and sand dunes is considered one of the most unique and challenging courses in the world. It was recently voted one of the top 100 golf courses in the World by Golf Magazine USA.

The 2012 Volvo Golf Champions was held at the Fancourt Resort in George on the famous Links Course and was won by South Africa’s Branden Grace. He held off the challenge of his two boyhood heroes, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen to win his second event in as many weeks in a dramatic playoff.

The tournament is a limited-field event with no halfway cut, open only to European Tour players who have won an event on the 2012 European Tour and current European Tour players with more than 10 career European Tour victories. In 2012 the prize fund was $2.6 million, and the 2013 prize fund will be announced in late October.

UBS BACK IN HONG KONG: The Hong Kong Open will carry the title sponsorship of UBS for the eighth time when the 54th edition of Hong Kong’s longest-running sporting event takes place Nov. 15-18, 2012.

In 2011, Rory McIlroy became the 10th different major champion to win the UBS Hong Kong Open, which this year returns to Hong Kong Golf Club, in Fanling. The event again will be co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours, and the Hong Kong Golf Association (HKGA).

UBS became title sponsors of the Hong Kong Open in 2006 – four years after the tournament joined the European Tour – with Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie marking the occasion by winning his 30th Tour title. Since then, Spaniards José Manuel Lara and Miguel Angel Jiménez, Taiwan’s Lin Wen-tang, Frenchman Grégory Bourdy and England’s Ian Poulter have joined Montgomerie in the roll call of former champions.

As usual, this year’s $2 million tournament will be played in the critical week before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, giving competitors the final chance to qualify for the 60-man showpiece. The event also will also greatly impact the race to win the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.