THE Open Championship gave Scotland a £140million economic boost last year, a record amount for a golfing tournament in the UK and Ireland.
St Andrews, which is known around the world as the “home of golf”, hosted the 144th Open in July and American Zach Johnson won the famous Claret Jug.
Spectator admissions topped 237,000 over the course of the event, with 93,000 sports fans flocking to the Fife town, including 26,400 from overseas.
Now a study commissioned by tournament organisers the R&A has revealed spending by visitors in Scotland for the Open generated £88million, almost twice the total of £47.5million that was raised the last time the Open was at the Old Course in 2010.
Separate research by Kantar Media Sport Intelligence suggested the event, which was broadcast to more than 500 million homes worldwide, generated a further £52million in marketing benefit.
The economic impact assessment, carried out by Sheffield Hallam University’s sport industry research centre, estimated the economic benefit to the Fife area alone was about £52million.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We all know that golf and its origins are synonymous with Scotland but these excellent figures show that the connection between the game and its spiritual home is as strong and productive as ever.
“It is always a special homecoming for players and spectators alike when The Open returns to the Old Course.
“They have the opportunity to experience not only one of the finest courses in the world but also take in a stunning setting on the Fife coast. Hosting such events is a tremendous opportunity to showcase Scotland internationally.”
The Open is golf’s oldest major championship, dating back to 1860. For the first time since 1988, play at the tournament was extended for an extra day last year because of dreadful weather.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “The R&A brings The Open to Scotland more often than to any other part of the UK and we are delighted that a long association with VisitScotland produces measurable and sustained benefits for the economy.
“The Open is one of the world’s greatest sporting events and we look forward to staging another successful championship in Scotland this year when The Open returns to Royal Troon.”