The European Tour will be coming to St Andrews after all in October with the announcement of an additional tournament – the Scottish Championship – at the Fairmont St Andrews resort.
The new event, worth €1 million and played from October 15-18, will be the fourth tournament in the Tour’s second UK Swing, following on from the Irish Open, Scottish Open and PGA Championship at Wentworth.
The tour has also announced that two of their $6 million Rolex Series events due to be held later in the year, the Turkish Airlines Open and the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, have both been cancelled for 2020.
The Italian Open has also been downgraded from Rolex Series status for this year, leaving only the Scottish Open, the PGA Championship and the season-ending DP World Championship in Dubai remaining as elite events.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, originally scheduled for the first week in October, was cancelled earlier this month due to the difficulties of creating a safe environment with three venues in use in the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns Links, and the large field of pro-am players involved. Tournament hosts have promised the Dunhill will return next year if public health requirements allow.
But the Tour were still keen to come to North East Fife, the choice of the Fairmont St Andrews, playing the Torrance Course, enables the Tour to have a safe enclosed venue to minimise risk of Covid-19 infection with officials and some players staying at the onsite hotel.
John Keating, area general manager for Luxury Brands Scotland and Ireland, owners of the resort, said they were delighted to have been chosen to be part of the tour’s plans.
“With so many iconic venues staging European Tour Events in 2020 we are thrilled to be part of this,” he said. “The Torrance Course will provide a great test and challenge for the players so we are looking forward to seeing the performance, and hope the players enjoy the chance to be back in St Andrews.”
Fairmont has previously hosted Challenge Tour and Seniors Tour events, including the Scottish Senior Open for several years.
For the remainder of this season – and reportedly the 2021 campaign as well – the Tour has reverted to series or “swings” of events held within close proximity to lessen the requirement for international travel for players.
The first UK Swing of six events – all held in a strict bio-bubble with Covid-test entry and without spectators – is finishing this week with the UK Championship at The Belfry.
The second swing will start with the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Galgorm Castle in Northern Ireland from September 24-27, the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian from October 1-4, and the BMW PGA at Wentworth in Surrey on October 8-11.
After the Scottish Championship, the tour will move to Cyprus and the Aphrodite Hills resort near Paphos, where two further events will be played on October 29-November 1 and November 5-8. The events will be promoted by Andrew Chandler’s ISM group.
Both these events will be played for 1 million euro prizefunds. The tour have also announced that the Italian Open, set for October 22-25, will not now be a Rolex Series event, and the tournaments in Turkey and South Africa, once part of the Tour’s annual Final Series, have also been cancelled for 2020.