Castle Stuart to Stage the 2011 Barclays Scottish Open
The Barclays Scottish Open will have a new home with the European Tour announcing that Castle Stuart Golf Links on the Moray Firth coast will host this year’s championship to be played 7 – 10 July.
Situated between Inverness and Nairn, Castle Stuart Golf Links will be the seventh Scottish course to play host to the prestigious tournament since 1972; following in the footsteps of Downfield, St Andrews, Haggs Castle, The Gleneagles Hotel, Carnoustie and Loch Lomond Golf Club, which staged proceedings over the last 15 years from 1996 to 2010.
The prize fund for the 2011 Barclays Scottish Open remains at £3 million and to claim the first prize of £500,000, the players will have to conquer a new golf course which has received worldwide praise since its official opening in the summer of 2009.
Co-designed by Managing Partner Mark Parsinen – who was also responsible for the design of Kingsbarns in Fife – and American golf course architect Gil Hanse, the course was voted as Best New Course for 2009 by Golf Magazine USA while Ron Whitten, writing in the December 2010 issue of Golf Digest USA, stated that “Castle Stuart might be the most perfectly conceived and executed design ever built.”
Italian Edoardo Molinari will defend the title against a stellar field including Graeme McDowell, the 2008 champion, and Phil Mickelson, winners of the US Open and the Masters Tournament respectively in 2010, and three time Major Champion Padraig Harrington, who have all, at this early stage, committed to playing at Castle Stuart in July.
Phil Mickelson, three-time Masters Champion and a strong supporter of the event down the years, said: “I am really excited about moving the Barclays Scottish Open to Castle Stuart Golf Links this year. I know I'm looking forward to testing my game on a strong links course the week before The Open Championship and I'm sure a number of top players from the PGA Tour will be taking advantage of the opportunity. This is set up to be outstanding for the tournament, the players and the fans.”
European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady said: “It is always exciting to break new ground and everyone at The European Tour is delighted to be staging one of our most prestigious events at a new venue which has been so widely acclaimed.
“Our Members already enjoy competing at Kingsbarns on The European Tour International Schedule and I am sure they will eagerly anticipate testing their skills against the Mark Parsinen-designed course at Castle Stuart. Loch Lomond were extremely courteous and supportive during our negotiations to move forward with the Championship and we will all take away some wonderful memories of our time there and we wish them well in the future.
“This year’s venue might be young, but we are delighted to maintain our strong relationship with Barclays for whom this is the tenth year of its title sponsorship of the event. Such a level of involvement speaks volumes for their overall commitment, not only to The European Tour but to golf worldwide. We congratulate Barclays for the vision in supporting the Barclays Scottish Open at such an outstanding venue for championship golf.”
As well as the support of Barclays, the tournament has also garnered widespread backing from the public sector agencies in the local area, namely Highland Council, the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Visit Scotland, Event Scotland and Scottish Development International, all of whom who have pledged their support and assistance.