A LIMITED number of spectators could line the fairways at Scotland’s largest golf tournament when it returns to East Lothian next month.

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open tees off at The Renaissance Club on October 1, with top golfers from around the world expected to take part in the competition.

Usually, thousands of people would line the course but due to coronavirus the paying public will not be on the course.

Now, the idea of a limited number of invited guests being allowed to take to the course to watch the event is being explored.

Negotiations are ongoing between organisers the European Tour and the Scottish Government, with documents lodged with East Lothian Council.

A spokeswoman for the European Tour said: “The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open will be subject to the European Tour’s health strategy based on government guidelines in Scotland.

“Further updates on all aspects of the tournaments will be made in due course.”

Last year’s competition, which was held at The Renaissance, by Dirleton, saw records tumble both on and off the course.

Nearly 67,000 people attended the event in July, up by nearly 3,500 from the previous year at Gullane Golf Club.

On the greens, Bernd Wiesberger was crowned the winner following three tense play-off holes, with a score of 22 under par – matched by Benjamin Hebert; it was the lowest score to par since the competition began in 1972.

This year’s tournament was due to be played July 9-12 but was postponed due to the global pandemic.

An initial rearranged date of October 8-11 was pencilled in before the European Tour confirmed the event would take place a week earlier, from October 1 to 4.

Last month, Stacy Lewis was crowned the winner of the Ladies Scottish Open, which was also played at The Renaissance Club, behind closed doors.