Months of planning and hard work will pay off as the hotly anticipated 147th Open Championship tees off in Carnoustie on Thursday.
The world’s elite golfers have arrived, some in private jets, to compete for a total purse of $10.5 million, including the winner’s prize of $1.89 million – and of course the iconic claret jug.
From people redecorating their homes to rent them out for the the tournament to the construction of the stands and additional infrastructure, the town has been a hive of activity in the build up to one of the world’s most tightly contested sporting spectacles.
Angus Council, businesses, community organisations and individuals have pulled out all the stops to showcase Carnoustie and Angus to an expected 170,000 visitors, as well as the millions of households around the world who will be watching the progress of the players online or on TV.
Some of the famous golfing greats have rubbed shoulders with locals in shops and bars, often being generous with their time posing for selfies and signing autographs – but the practice rounds are over, and it’s down to business for the players and officials.
The event is predicted to generate tens of millions of pounds in economic benefits to the area, with the hope that golf enthusiasts will return to the play the course themselves.
Angus Provost Ronnie Proctor underlined his warm welcome to those visiting Carnoustie and Angus for the event: “An incredible amount of work has gone into making this an enjoyable, exciting event for all concerned.
“The eyes of the sporting world are fixed firmly on Carnoustie, and to those who have arrived for the Open I would extend a sincere welcome, and I would wish them a pleasant stay in Angus.
“I know they won’t be disappointed in what we have to offer.”
The huge value that golf brings to the Scottish economy has also been outlined in a report from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre.
It found that golf tourism alone adds £13 million of visitor expenditure to the economy, £154 million in Gross Added Value, and 4,700 jobs, while a 2017 study found that golf tourism brought a £20 million regional bonus to Carnoustie country.
Angus South MSP Graeme Dey said: “I’m delighted to welcome the great and the good of the golfing world to Angus this weekend for what is sure to be an excellent Open Championship at Carnoustie.
“Hosting the biggest event in golf is a real boost for the local area – as we know how important this is for jobs and the economy in Angus and across the country.
“If Carnoustie can match Troon from two years ago, we can expect an economic boost of over £60 million from the Open, which is excellent news for our local and national economy.
“And let’s hope that we see a repeat of 1999 and another Scottish champion at Carnoustie this weekend to follow in Paul Lawrie’s footsteps.”