An international galaxy of golfing stars will shine on Loch Lomond Golf Club this week as The Barclays Scottish Open kicks off a mouth-watering three week spell in the country which gave the game to the world.
With The Open Championship at St Andrews and The Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard at Carnoustie to come over the next fortnight, golf fans in Scotland will be spoilt for choice as they watch stars of the past, present and future compete over three of the country’s most celebrated layouts.
One of the most beautiful golf settings in the world, Loch Lomond Golf Club will set the ball rolling with a plethora of leading players from the Official World Golf Ranking all keen to claim the winner’s cheque of £500,000 from an overall prize fund of £3,000,000 in The Barclays Scottish Open.
Highest ranked players in the field are World Number Two Phil Mickelson, who went close to claiming the title on his debut in 2007 before eventually losing out in a play-off to Frenchman Grégory Havret, and World Number Six Ernie Els, to date the only player to have won twice at Loch Lomond.
Mickelson, who will become World Number One if he wins or finishes outright second, said: “Everything about the tournament, from the sponsors, to the golf course and the stunning setting at Loch Lomond is as good as it gets in golf. I would love to add The Barclays Scottish Open to my list of career wins: to be successful in Scotland, the home of golf, is something that every player would love to have on his resumé and I am no different.”
It is a measure of the tournament’s international appeal that players from each of the five continents of the globe will make their way to Loch Lomond to compete.
Naturally the European contingent leads the way, headed by defending champion Martin Kaymer who is aiming to be the first player in the tournament’s illustrious history to win back-to-back.
“To win in Scotland was very special to me,” said the German. “I really enjoyed it, especially the last two days. They were amazing, the field was good and the spectators really supported all the players – it was unbelievable and I will try my hardest to win again.”
The impressive European charge is bolstered by the likes of the 2008 Barclays Scottish Open winner and newly crowned US Open Champion Graeme McDowell alongside the man he beat into second place at Pebble Beach, Havret. Also headlining for Europe will be the winner of last week’s Alstom Open de France, Miguel Angel Jiménez, Thomas Björn, Alvaro Quiros, Ross Fisher, Rhys Davies and brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari.
Joining Mickelson from the Americas are former US Open Champion Lucas Glover and Colombia’s Camilo Villegas, while other American professionals sure to catch the eye are former Ryder Cup Captain Tom Lehman – who showed he was still a force to be reckoned with inside the ropes with his recent victory in the US Senior PGA Championship – Fred Funk, Steve Marino and the big hitting duo of John Daly and JB Holmes.
From Australasia, Robert Allenby brings his undoubted talents to bear while representing Asia are Korea’s Y E Yang, winner of the 2009 US PGA Championship, three time Major Champion Vijay Singh of Fiji, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and the precocious talent of Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa.
Finally, from South Africa, Major Champions Els, Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman are sure to entertain the traditionally knowledgeable Scottish galleries alongside the emerging talents of European Tour winners such as Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.