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Friday
Mar222013

Castle Stuart Interested In Hosting More Major Events

Nick Rodger reports that the folks at Gil Hanse-designed Castle Stuart are already thinking beyond this year's Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, which will be their last European Tour event for the immediate future.

In particular, they want to try to lure a World Golf Championship event to the beautiful links.

An investment of £500,000 has been made on the infrastructure over the past couple of years to allow Castle Stuart to cope with the rigours of top-level tournament golf and, having had a taste of the big time, those behind the scenes are keen to sample much, much more.

"We want this to be a big send-off from Inverness," said McColm, who unveiled a special green fee offer for all those who purchase Scottish Open tickets in the coming months. "Let them [the European Tour] leave the Highlands with a sweet taste in their mouth and give them the opportunity that they might want to come back. Would we consider other events? Of course we would. I'm not putting words in people's mouths but Phil Mickelson once challenged George O'Grady [the tour's chief executive] and said 'you have to bring a World Golf Championship event here, that's how good this place is'. We've shown what we can do. We are not chasing anything. The tour came to us and knocked on our door and we've enjoyed the last three years and all the razzmatazz that comes with the Scottish Open."

Unfortunately, Castle Stuart has several things going against it.

First, it's not in the United States, where all World Golf Championship events must be played because that is where you can play vastly inferior, uninspired courses like Firestone, Ritz Carlton at Dove Mountain and Trump Doral. And ideally, some of those courses pay you to host the event instead of paying a premium to play a venue that people actually want to play or watch.

Second, and I can say this as someone who has been there for a Scottish Open, it works beautifully for a tournament. Inverness is a beautiful place to visit and now surprisingly easy to get to. The PGA Tour prefers something with more inconvenience and expense involved.

Finally, but most importantly, the European Tour opposed the anchoring ban, some say at the last minute after leaning the other way. This may have neutralized the PGA Tour's ambitious position, therefore putting George O'Grady off of Commissioner Long Memory's iPhone Favorites screen and on a 10-year probation for consideration of a WGC.

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Reader Comments (12)

A WGC event at Castle Stuart? That would be great. Castle Stuart is beautiful, endlessly interesting and -on still days - open to very low scoring. Sadly your amusing reasons against it ever happening are surely right. (Also, it never occurred to me venues pay to host WGC events, but of course they do.)
03.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCraig Morrison
Would be a great matchplay venue. Just think it will never happen.
03.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterScott
I would imagine if they scratch a check, they may have a chance. If they play the rc at k club and glen eagles then clearly no one cares about the course.
03.23.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
"the European Tour opposed the anchoring ban"

I thought they supported the ban...am I wrong again?
03.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
please explain the concrete factors that determine for you that this is a great match play venue. Please be specific.

I kept hearing the RM was going to make the PCup a fantastic match play venue but all I saw was good players aiming forty feet away from the hole and playing incredibly defensively.
03.23.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
If Inverness is really that easy to get to now, then the heck with Castle Stuart.

In that case, it is finally time to bring a tournament to the greatest single collection of 18 holes on the planet: the Championship course at Royal Dornoch.

Bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
03.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRob
I bet trump would/will get a wgc before castle Stuart.
03.23.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
Sadly I think you are right Joe.Dornoch is good- but the best 18 holes on the Planet?!The first,third and sixteenth wouldn't come into that category surely?
03.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChico
Joe, the really sad thing is Trumps place will probably get any tournament before Castle Stuart. I will say though, having ONLY walked trump international i would say that it is pretty dam impressive, but if you have half a brain you would soon realise that there is not may spectator areas around most holes, as most of it is seriously steep dune systems.
03.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterScott
I kinda doubt that wgc is going to the back of beyond in Scotland anyway. Too far away, lousy weather and accommodations. Maybe open rota courses but doubt that too. I bet Wentworth gets a wgc before anywhere in Scotland. Trump is an x factor because of $$$$, ego and he already has the doral relationship.
03.23.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
As someone who travels from the west coast of the USA to the bonnie Highlands of Scotland twice each year, I certainly wish Inverness was "surprisingly easy to get to." Sadly, until there are flights from London Heathrow direct to Inverness Airport, it is not and will not be.
03.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDLT
£500,000........what does that get ya, a big old parking lot?
03.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

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