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Scottish Open set to make return

The Scottish Open is set to return to the golfing calendar this week, with an announcement confirming that the tournament will go ahead at Loch Lomond in July.

The event, which was last played at Carnoustie in 1996 and won by Ian Woosnam, would take the place of the Loch Lomond World Invitational, and run from July 12 to 15. With a prize fund of more than £2m, it would be a major boost to Scotland’s bid to stage the Ryder Cup in 2009.

After Standard Life withdrew from sponsoring the world invitational tournament, European Tour director Ken Schofield opened negotiations with Loch Lomond owner Lyle Anderson in a bid to revive the Scottish Open. Former European Tour No1, Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, has called for the championship to be restored to the European PGA Tour.

The official tour calendar simply states that a tournament will take place at Loch Lomond on these dates, but sources on the bonnie banks say the Scottish Open is definitely on, "though the sponsorship deal is yet to be signed".

Colin Montgomerie is backing a bid for the Scottish Open to return to the European Tour. Allsport.

The Scottish Open title is owned by Mark McCormack’s International Management Group, and on Wednesday Montgomerie, one of their clients, will meet First Minister Henry McLeish and minister for sport Sam Galbraith in Edinburgh. Hastings International, who are co-ordinating Scotland’s bid for the Ryder Cup in 2009, say the three will make a "major announcement about the professional events programme secured for Scotland in 2001".

Restarting the Scottish Open with vastly-increased prize- money would be a timely riposte to the Welsh bid for 2009 - seen by many as Scotland’s main rival - as their bid committee recently backed a new £500,000 Wales Seniors Open, and promised increased prize-money for the Welsh Open itself.

A Loch Lomond Golf Club source admitted that reports of a new tournament for the course were circulating locally, but added: "It is only speculation at the moment."

Hastings International refused to elaborate in advance of Wednesday’s announcement.

The Ryder Cup board will meet this month to evaluate all the bids. Scotland and Wales are reported to have the strongest claims, though Prime Minister Tony Blair is backing the Northumbrian bid from Slaney Hall golf course, near his constituency.




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