Castle Stuart golf course to host Scottish Open
The new Castle Stuart golf course near Inverness has pulled off a major coup by winning the right to stage the Barclays Scottish Open in July.
The event has the potential to attract tens of thousands of spectators and be watched by a TV audience of millions.
The links course on the Moray Firth only opened fully last year.
The open has been played at Loch Lomond for the last nine years but financial difficulties there saw the European Tour begin the search for a new venue.
National events agency EventScotland has been working with the European Tour to find a suitable course.
Paul Bush, chief operating officer for EventScotland, said Castle Stuart was a first class venue.
VisitScotland said it was great news for the Highlands and Islands.
Chief executive Malcolm Roughead said: "The event is expected to invigorate Castle Stuart as a tourist spot and the jobs created will leave a lasting legacy for local residents.
"There are some wonderful holiday destinations in and around the area and we will be working with local tour operators and visitor centres to ensure the area gets the most out of this world class event coming to the region."
Highland Council has welcomed the announcement.
Convener Sandy Park said: "What a chance to showcase what the Highlands has to offer to a world wide audience.
"The council has been helping the bid and we are very much looking forward to playing our part in making this a big success.
"The area is gaining a really strong reputation for organising large-scale events and I have no doubt we will be up for the challenge."