European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley is confident the golfing enthusiasts will turn out in their tens of thousands at Castle Stuart Golf Links once again.
This year’s Scottish Open will be part of a Super Sunday of sport with the Euro 2016 final and the men’s Wimbledon final both taking place on the same day as the final round at Castle Stuart.
But Pelley believes that will not prevent there being another healthy attendance at the Inverness venue with the chance to watch some of the world’s best golfers compete simply being too good to miss.
He said: “I fully appreciate these are both major sporting occasions, but we have to remember Scotland is the home of golf so I have every confidence the spectators will once again turn up in their thousands, as they have done for years, to watch some of the greatest golfers in the world in action.
“We had a total of 65,000 spectators at Castle Stuart across the week in 2013, and I see no reason why we won’t achieve similar numbers again this year.
“It was an easy decision to return to Castle Stuart after enjoying three great years there from 2011 to 2013, from where champions of the calibre of Luke Donald, Jeev Milkha Singh and Phil Mickelson emerged.
“I am looking forward to my first visit to that part of Scotland in July as everyone tells me it is a wonderful venue, not just because of the condition of the course but also due to its spectacular setting.
“The support we receive from the Highlands Council and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise was also another incentive to return.
“It is no coincidence the majority of Open champions in recent years – Louis Oosthuizen (in 2010), Darren Clarke (2011), Ernie Els (2012), Phil Mickelson (2013) and Rory McIlroy (2014) all played in the Scottish Open the week before winning the Open. I am sure other players have sat up and taken notice of that fact.”
There were reports recently the Scottish Open might lose its coveted pre-Open slot to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open or that the events might alternate in the two weeks before the third major of the season.
But Pelley was quick to say there was “no prospect” of the event being moved in the coming years.
The European Tour chief executive added: “One of the great strengths of the tournament is the fact it is played on a links course the week before the Open, and there is a great desire from all parties – the European Tour, Aberdeen Asset Management and the Scottish Government – to ensure the tournament retains its premium position on the schedule for the foreseeable future.
“The preference in recent years has been to take the tournament around Scotland, hence the reason behind the move to Dundonald Links next year.
“The tournament has not been played on the west coast of Scotland since it was held at Loch Lomond in 2010, so it is only right that we return to that part of the country. Given the work that is currently being undertaken on the golf course, I have no doubt it will prove an excellent host venue.”