The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open in two weeks will the first golf event on the European Tour to admit spectators since the pandemic lockdown, in a pilot scheme approved by the Scottish Government.
Some 650 spectators in addition to players, caddies, limited media and essential personnel – amounting to a total of 1000 people – will be permitted, with all revenue from ticket sales to be donated to charity.
The ASI Scottish Open, at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian, has been rescheduled from its usual July date to October 1-4 due to the pandemic.
The number of spectators will be strictly controlled and only daily access tickets from the Edinburgh and Lothians area will be permitted, with the procedures in place since the European Tour restarted in July applied.
The Scottish Open will join a series of pilot sporting and cultural events being considered in Scotland, to help support the return of fans and audiences when it is safe to do so.
All previous ticket purchasers have been contacted to advise that their tickets will be automatically refunded, with those from Edinburgh and the Lothians given priority access to repurchase the limited number of tickets available under the new terms and conditions.
All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to SAMH, Scotland’s national mental health charity, which has been confirmed as the tournament’s official charity for 2020.
The tournament will be separated into two distinct “bubbles”, the existing one that has been operating at every European Tour event for players, caddies, media and essential staff, where everyone is is subject to the Tour’s stringent testing and health protocols.
A second “outer” bubble will be in place to maintain distance from those within the “inner” one. Spectators will be subject to daily temperature checks and health questionnaires, and must follow stringent health protocols, including enhanced social distancing.
Rory Colville, the tournament director said: “We are very pleased to be able to welcome weekend spectators to the Renaissance Club this year, while abiding strictly by the European Tour health strategy and Scottish Government guidelines.
“While the numbers on site will be strictly limited to continue to minimise risk we will be able to offer Scottish golf fans the opportunity to watch their national open, which we and our valued partners at Aberdeen Standard Investments and the Scottish Government felt was important, if we were able to do so in a safe and controlled manner.
!It’s also gives us a great opportunity to tee off our partnership with Official Charity SAMH. We’re delighted to be able to support the important work that SAMH carries out in mental health support, social care and education across Scotland by donating the revenue from weekend tickets sold, as well as a host of other charitable activities in and around tournament week.”
The Scottish Government’s Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “I am pleased that the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open will take place in front of a limited number of spectators – a significant milestone for events in Scotland.
“I’d like to thank the European Tour and other partners for developing plans for this pilot event to be held safely, not just for the benefit of the spectators and players, but as a way of developing and shaping best practice, ultimately providing a pathway to the safe return of events as soon as we are able.
“Our events sector and our golf tourism industry are both hugely important to Scotland and this event will help play a role in their recovery.
“Participating in or watching sport is also beneficial to mental health. As such, I’m delighted to see SAMH appointed as the official charity, benefitting from all ticket sales revenue and raising awareness of the importance of mental health, particularly during these difficult times.”
The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open will be the second Rolex Series event on the reshaped 2020 Race to Dubai. The US$7million event will be played for the second consecutive year at The Renaissance Club, which lies just over the eastern wall of the Open championship venue Muirfield.