|Vikki Laing and Kylie Walker
Scottish golf was given a welcome boost with a double announcement which will help develop the game at both the professional and grassroots level.
Scottish Hydro, one of the UK’s leading energy companies, announced their continued support of an initiative which provides financial support and expert advice to a small group of talented, young professionals playing on the European Challenge Tour.
Team Scottish Hydro was launched in 2011 to wide acclaim and recognition from governing bodies and federations across Europe in addition to many top, international professionals.
This morning, in front of The Hydro - Scotland’s new home of live entertainment, also sponsored by Scottish Hydro - the five Challenge Tour players were unveiled. Three members of last year’s Team Scottish Hydro – Callum Macaulay, Chris Doak and Jamie McLeary - were joined by newcomers Andrew McArthur & Jack Doherty. Callum Macaulay, one of those receiving support for a second year, commented: “I am very pleased to be included again this year and I am very grateful to Scottish Hydro for their continued support. Last season was a good year for me but I know what I need to do to make it onto the European Tour and I am determined to make this happen.”
Newcomer, Jack Doherty said: “I am excited to be a part of Team Scottish Hydro as I know how much benefit this support brings. This gives me a fantastic opportunity to achieve my goal of playing at the highest level in the game.”
The announcement also included a new development which was well-received by supporters of women’s golf. Two young professionals from the Ladies European Tour – Kylie Walker & Vikki Laing – have joined the Team Scottish Hydro programme and they will benefit from the same financial support and advice as the men.
Jonny Petrie, Sponsorship Manager at Scottish Hydro, said: “We are delighted to announce this year’s Team Scottish Hydro players. 2011 was a very successful first year which culminated in Craig Lee winning his place on the European Tour and we hope that the 2012 team can continue this success. In addition to the five European Challenge Tour players, we also welcome two players from the Ladies European Tour. It has always been our intention to include emerging talent from the ladies professional game and we hope that this support can also help them to develop & reach their potential.”
Catriona Matthew, 2009 Women’s British Open Champion & Scotland’s most successful female golfer, was very pleased that Scottish Hydro had recognised the women’s professional game. She said: “I'm really glad that Scottish Hydro has included two girls in their support programme this year. The young female pros will appreciate the help every bit as much as the guys and women’s golf is an area of the game that we need to grow. Congratulations to Scottish Hydro and I hope that all the players they are supporting have a great year.”
Glasgow’s Kylie Walker was also delighted to be one of the first golfers on the Ladies European Tour to join the team: “This support will help me hugely as I try to follow in the footsteps of some of Scotland’s top golfers. I am really excited at this opportunity and I am determined to use the backing to take the next step in the development of my game.”
This year’s team was unveiled by one of Scotland’s most successful professional golfers over the past decade, Stephen Gallacher. Stephen has always been active in his support and encouragement of young Scottish professionals and was keen to be involved. “I know how much of a challenge it is for professional golfers at all levels to succeed on an international stage and I think that this initiative is a fantastic help for them all. There is no one assured route to becoming a successful player but with the expert advice and financial support from Scottish Hydro, the players already have a huge head start on their rivals.”
After re-affirming their support for emerging talent, Scottish Hydro then reinforced their commitment to golf at the grassroots level with the announcement that they will become the Headline Partner of the Stephen Gallacher Foundation.
Jonny Petrie added: “Stephen is an excellent ambassador for golf and his new Foundation, which gives children of all ages the opportunity to take up the game and enjoy playing both socially or competitively, is to be applauded. Scottish Hydro is committed to supporting golf at every level and we know how important junior members are to the long-term future of golf clubs, so our association with the Foundation is very important to us.”
Currently enjoying a successful start to the 2012 European season, with second place finishes in the Dubai Classic and the recent Malaysian Open, Stephen added: “Scottish Hydro has been one of the primary supporters of golf in Scotland in recent years and I am proud that one of Scotland’s largest and most successful companies is supporting my Foundation.”