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Excitement builds for Scottish Open as stars descend on Renaissance Club



Excitement builds for Scottish Open as stars descend on Renaissance Club

The golfing world turns its eyes to Scotland this week as some of the biggest names in the sport take to the tee in North Berwick for the Scottish Open.

A competitive field, challenging conditions, a $9m prize fund and perfect preparation for The Open has drawn the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Speith, Collin Morikawa and Robert MacIntyre to East Lothian for four days of top level golf that begin on Thursday.

Players enjoyed practice rounds on Tuesday in the wind and rain, with PGA Championship winner Xander Schauffele saying that the weather just served to underline how much Scottish golf fans are to be admired.

“In the US, the few times we get a lot of rain and wind, the course is pretty empty,” Schauffele said.

“It can be blowing 25 and ripping rain here and there are people by your side in shorts and a T-shirt, maybe a bucket hat as a waterproof, and loving every second of it.

“That’s the sort of appreciation they have for golf and it’s awesome to have fans who will wear the weather with you.”

The Scottish Open was first played in 1972 and took place on a variety of courses but has been held at The Renaissance Club since 2019.

The club is owned by the Sarvadi family and CEO John Sarvadi admits that attracting the best in the world is everything they hoped for when taking control.

“It was the dream,” he told STV. “Candidly, it’s amazing to see just how far we’ve come.

“It’s exceedingly gratifying to see that this is a co-sanctioned event with the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.

“We’re bringing the top field in the world to Scotland and it’s just a wonderful feeling for the family and the members of the club.”

Work has gone in to improving the fan experience year-on-year and 2024 is no different.

More than 80,000 spectators are anticipated over the week and there will be a special focus on the par three sixth hole.

A 5,000-seat ‘Stadium’ has been created and Rory Colville, head of championships for the DP World Tour, explains that there is an added extra for some lucky spectators, in partnership with car manufacturer Genesis, who sponsor the tournament.

“The fans can enter a competition and they can get the chance to sit next to the sixth tee,” he said. “There will be a fan allocated to each player who is playing the hole and if there is a player who gets a hole in one then the player will win a GV60 and the fan will get a VIP trip to the Genesis Championship in Korea.

“There should be some great atmosphere. We’ve got a host here for the week to get a little bit of interaction with the players and the fans and it should be really exciting.”

Bookmakers have Rory McIlroy as the favourite for success on the course, with Xander Schauffele also expected to do well, but local support will be behind Scottish golfers Robert MacIntyre and Ewen Ferguson.

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