Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Outgoing Aberdeen Standard chair Gilbert hopes company’s support of Scottish golf will continue

Martin Gilbert.
Martin Gilbert.

Martin Gilbert may be leaving Aberdeen Standard Investments and his position as Scottish golf’s biggest philanthropist, but he is confident in his legacy and that the company will still stay in the forefront of sponsoring the game.

Gilbert, who built up ASI into an international investment powerhouse from his own start-up in his home city, started in sponsorship in the late 1990s with a local young professional he came to admire – Paul Lawrie, who was to become Open champion and twice a Ryder Cup player.

He became a long-time friend, mentor and benefactor to Lawrie but also graduated to bigger things, becoming almost a blanket sponsor for golf in Scotland, a portfolio that attracted the envy of governing bodies in other countries across the world.

ASI remains as the title sponsor of men’s and women’s Scottish Opens, but this is not just because Gilbert and ASI chairman Sir Douglas Flint are golf nuts.

“It does pay,” he explains. “We measure the financial benefit of our sponsorship and use it to negotiate with the tours.

“The Opens have both grown and become associated with ASI, and having them near Edinburgh as well has really helped more recently. I know the chairman believes that these are events that we should be continuing with.

“Nothing is guaranteed with this coronavirus shutdown; if it hadn’t happened I’d have given you an unequivocal reply. I still think we’d love to do it. The whole tour is up in the air at the moment because no one knows when events will be played and how many will be played.”

Scotland’s Russell Knox addresses the media ahead of the Scottish Open – one of the tournaments Aberdeen Standard Investments sponsors.

Behind closed doors golf would still work for ASI, he continued, because the TV pictures were always what they prioritised anyway.

“For businesses like ourselves that have an international presence, sponsorship will still be as important, even in the economic downturn that will happen because of this,” he went on.

“‘Behind closed doors’, for certain sponsors like ourselves, will work because we prioritise TV over attendance.

“The TV exposure in the US for the men’s Scottish Open and the similar TV exposure in Asia for the ladies’ Open is very, very important for us as a business. Those are very big areas for us in terms of investing and managing money for clients.

TV exposure is more important than packed-out galleries, something which could be vital in coming months.

“It would work for the European Tour as well. If they can get back on TV it will help with revenues. I’m not sure how much money they make from events otherwise, I’m not privy to those details, but my instinct is that TV is vital.

“Right now, in terms of the Scottish Opens, we have the best date on the European Tour and we have the best date for the ladies sandwiched between two majors. It’s important to understand, if we give these up we’ll probably never get them back again.”

Gilbert isn’t leaving just yet, although his retirement went through at the company’s AGM last week. He’ll be about for four and a half months, including the likely rescheduled Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club this year, before “going off to do something else”.

“Hopefully I can scrounge some tickets for the golf or wangle my way into a few pro-ams,” he joked, highlighting playing with Lawrie as a pro-am partner when he holed a monster putt at the 18th at St Andrews to win the 2001 Dunhill Links as a particular highlight.

“That was a unique experience, to play with the winner in a big event like the Dunhill,” he recalled.

“I still have the pictures of me picking the ball out of the hole for him at the 18th.

“He’s been such a great player, I still marvel at his ball-striking even now. His rise since we started sponsoring him has been a big thrill, and my only disappointment is he didn’t get the exemptions to play on the US Seniors Tour that would have seen his career take off again there.

“As a fan, playing with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler last year, and with Phil Mickelson when he won the Scottish up at Inverness, you can’t replace that thrill.

“I was also really thrilled to see Robert MacIntyre, who we’ve sponsored since he was an amateur, doing so well last year, that’s really been a more recent highlight. Seeing the men’s and ladies’ events growing to the level they have has really been amazing.

Robert MacIntyre.

“Also the amateur game, we have to encourage golf at grassroots and amateur level or it will decline even in Scotland.

“Until Bob, I guess we haven’t seen so many grow into the pro game as we’d hoped. We really need to get more players in the world’s top 100.”