Jeev Milkha Singh and Francesco Molinari are relishing a return to the scene of their sudden-death shoot-out for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open title at the magnificent Castle Stuart Golf Links from July 11-14, 2013.
The Indian emerged victorious in a dramatic finale on the Moray Firth coast last time around when, after the pair had finished locked on 17 under par after the regulation 72 holes, a superb 12 foot birdie putt at the first play-off hole was enough to overcome Italy’s Molinari.
However, the efforts of both players were roundly cheered by the knowledgeable Scottish crowds, 63,000 of whom attended the tournament which was recently named the Sporting Event of the Year sponsored by EventScotland, at the Sunday Mail and sportscotland Scottish Sports Awards.
The 2013 edition is once again sure to provide one of the highlights of The European Tour season and while Singh is thoroughly looking forward to his title defence, Molinari is understandably keen to make amends for just coming up short at the end of a week in which he played some mesmerising golf.
“I will be back there,” confirmed Singh, who turned 41 earlier this month. “I love that golf course at Castle Stuart. Obviously you always love a course that you win on so I am happy to be back there next year to defend the title.
“It was really special. It was one of the best wins I have had in my career so far, especially winning in Scotland, the Home of Golf - where it all began – and on a links golf course, so it was something special for me. I would say it is one of the biggest wins of my career.”
Molinari’s vital half point against Tiger Woods in The Ryder Cup set the seal on the European fightback now commonly referred to as the ‘Miracle at Medinah’. And his runner-up finish at Castle Stuart – following a spectacular course record of 62 in the first round – played a prominent part in him qualifying for the team to retain The Ryder Cup.
The 30 year old three-time European Tour champion said: “I can’t wait to return to Castle Stuart – and hopefully go one better this time. I played some great golf during the four days but didn’t manage to close it out, which was really disappointing.
“However, I love the course and the scenery. Scotland is the Home of Golf and to win a title there would be very special. It’s great to play links golf the week before The Open at Muirfield and I am looking forward to the opportunity in July.”
Singh, a four-time European Tour winner, praised the Scottish fans for their support last year but, with another large attendance anticipated in 2013, he was coy about their chances of seeing him sporting some traditional Scottish ‘trews’ on his eagerly-awaited return next July.
“The crowds were fantastic,” he said. “They are knowledgeable about the etiquette of golf and I think the way they handled it last year and the way they were out there cheering me on was fantastic to see and brought the best out in me.
“Maybe I will wear some tartan trousers,” he continued. “I usually stick to my own gear but you never know, I might change my mind and I might turn up in some tartan!”
The award-winning Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open takes place once again at Castle Stuart from July 11-14, 2013 and spectators can now purchase tickets to this superb tournament at discounted prices before the New Year.
A season ticket for all four days can be bought for £60 before 31st December, a saving of £10 on next year’s pre-tournament prices and £20 on admission at the gate.
Adult day tickets are priced at £25 before 31st December, rising to £30 pre-event and £35 on the gate. Concessions (60 and over) start at £40 for a season ticket and £15 for any one day tickets if purchased this year. Under-16s accompanied by an adult are admitted free of charge and all car parking is also free.
Reserved grandstand seating can also be purchased immediately for the Saturday (£10) and the Sunday (£15) of the event. Hospitality packages are also available.
Full ticket information can be found at: www.aamscottishopen.com or www.europeantour.com/tickets or telephone Ticket Hotline: +440800 023 2557. Postal enquiries should be sent to: European Tour Tickets, Mirren Court Three, 123 Renfrew Court Three, Paisley, PA3 4EA.