The success of the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship has reinforced the view that Trump International Links could host some of golf’s biggest tournaments, according to the club’s executive vice president.
Peter Baker, a former European Ryder Cup player and three-time winner on the European Tour, emerged victorious by four shots at the Legends Tour’s flagship event, which was held at the Aberdeenshire course last month.
It was the biggest tournament to be held at Trump International Links since the course opened in 2012.
In an exclusive interview with The Press and Journal ahead of the tournament, Eric Trump who runs the Trump Organisation’s golf properties across the world, said there was “no better venue on Earth” for a Ryder Cup than Trump International Links.
He also confirmed talks have been held over staging a potential LIV tournament at the Menie Estate course, which was designed by Dr Martin Hawtree.
Trump reiterated this point in an interview to Golf Monthly during the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship, saying: “The history of tournaments that will be held at this property is going to be long and very, very distinguished.
“Go down the check list of things you need for a major, it has every one of them on steroids.”
Work has commenced on a second course at the Aberdeenshire venue – the MacLeod course – which is expected to be open by early 2025.
He added: “Every player loves the course and thinks it is amazing – which it is.”
Spectators were permitted to walk down the fairways behind the players at the Legends Tour event.
Lawrie said one challenge to Trump International Links’ aim of hosting some of golf’s biggest events is whether the course could hold the required number of fans for a major tournament.
Sarah Malone, executive vice president of Trump International, Scotland, is confident the course would be able to host a Ryder Cup in the future.
She said: “Trump International Golf Links, Scotland was built to the highest specifications and standards, and has the capacity to hold any scale of tournament, no matter the number of spectators.
“The beauty of this extraordinary site is the natural amphitheatres created by towering dunes and elevated platforms around the course which lends itself to hosting large events on the scale of the Ryder Cup.
“As part of the early design process, a network of pathways and ‘belvedere’ platforms were specifically and carefully designed throughout the dunes to allow spectators to move around the course during future large-scale events.
“Those plans will be implemented in advance of a major tournament, when needed.
“What is also not necessarily visible when playing the course is the vast swathes of links land, in and around each hole, that are not currently utilised.
“These areas are intentional and form part of the spectator galleries and grandstands plots designed into our plans for future large-scale events.
“Ducting and cabling networks for broadcast media also lie beneath the golf course, to be tapped into when required.
“Unlike many golf course settings, the Trump Estate encompasses well over a thousand acres of land, allowing for unlimited parking, tented structures, roads, and infrastructure, which are critical to the success of large-scale tournaments.
“Trump International Golf Links, Scotland is the ultimate tournament setting and lacks nothing, and there is no question that we will host many great golfing events in the years to come.”
It is understood a verbal agreement is in place to bring the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship back to Trump International Links in 2024.
The tournament is expected to be moved slightly earlier in the calendar to coincide with the school holidays.
Malone was thrilled with the feedback from spectators to the event.
She added: “The Legends Tour flagship event, here at Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, this month was a resounding success.
“From spectators and sponsors to volunteers, players and hospitality guests, the feedback has been incredible – we have been flooded with letters of congratulations and praise.
“The north-east people came out in droves to support the players, and spectators travelled from afar to watch their sporting legends.
“It was a brilliant week, made possible with the support of great sponsors, world-class players and almost 200 local volunteers who gave up their time to make the tournament a great success.
“Peter Baker – winner of the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship – is a brilliant champion and we greatly look forward to many more sensational weeks of golf on our championship links.”