Scottish Open misses the cut

 

THE Scottish Open, until two years ago one of the success stories of the PGA European Tour, has been killed off by a mixture of politics and mistaken policies. Its place in the calendar, in the week immediately before the British Open, is to be taken by the Loch Lomond World Invitational.

This latter was played for the first time this year, on the new course on the banks of Loch Lomond designed by Tom Weiskopf. The tournament and the course are the creations of an American multi millionaire, Lyle Anderson, a man who has almost limitless ambition in the game of golf.

Two years ago the Scottish Open, which bad been sponsored by Bells, finished a highly successful, eight year run at Gleneagles. It had attracted huge crowds, a fine field including Americans who wanted to try to qualify for the Open, and it had BBC television coverage. All that changed though when the European Tour sold off a number of events to Sky, including the Scottish Open.

This year the title was sold to the Tour itself in partnership with IMG, and the expectation was that it would continue at a venue other than Carnoustie. But the title may not have been IMG's principal interest, for what they bought off the sellers was a package which included the rights to the Rugby World Cup.

The World Tour is to make a limited start in 1998 and is currently projecting just one designated stroke play event. Anderson thinks that Scotland, the Home of Golf, should also be home to that event, and if his is the only tournament in town, so to speak, then where else could such an event be played but at Loch Lomond?

It is also expected that Anderson and Loch Lomond will be bidding against Ireland for the rights to stage the Ryder Cup in 2001.