Barclays ends Scottish Open sponsorship

Luke Donald
Luke Donald won the Scottish Open in July

The Scottish Open is seeking a new sponsor after Barclays declined to renew its contract.

The tournament moved this summer to its new venue of Castle Stuart near Inverness after being held for the previous 15 years at Loch Lomond.

But the bank, which has been the sponsor since 2002, has blamed "market forces" for its decision.

This year's tournament had to be reduced to 54 holes because of disruption caused by heavy rain.

But Castle Stuart Golf links partner Grant Sword remained confident that a replacement sponsor could be found.

"Following the successful move to Castle Stuart in Inverness this year and the universal praise received from the players, media, and spectators alike, Castle Stuart Golf Links is looking forward to working closely with The European Tour and a new sponsor in the coming years," he said.

The tournament will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year and will retain its prime July date on the European Tour in the week before The Open Championship.

Former world number two Phil Mickelson has long been associated with the tournament, partly because of his sponsorship by Barclays.

Barclays Capital managing director Tim Peat said: "We made our decision reluctantly based on current market factors.

"I would like to thank The European Tour for its professional support and event management throughout our period sponsoring the Scottish Open, making it a success for the players, the general public and our clients."

Many of the world's leading players had expressed their desire to move to a links course in preparation for the Open itself and the first tournament at Castle Stuart attracted an impressive field.

World number one Luke Donald won the title in July with a closing 63 - the lowest round of his European Tour career - and previous winners include major champions Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell.

European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said: "We thank Barclays for their vision and leadership.

"We respect and understand that their decision was based on market factors following a hugely successful partnership that has lasted almost a decade.

"The combination of a world-class title, prime date in the week immediately before The Open Championship and stunning location in Scotland - the home of golf - make this a particularly attractive proposition and we look forward to securing the future of the Scottish Open with a new sponsor.

"I would like to thank Barclays for its support of European golf and am delighted it will continue to sponsor The Barclays Singapore Open, a European and Asian Tour co-sanctioned event."