With just one week before the third Major Championship of the season, Castle Stuart Golf Links will be looking to complete a unique hat-trick of having hosted the Open Champion at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open the week before golf’s oldest competition.
Darren Clarke set the tone for the Inverness venue in 2011, competing at Castle Stuart before going on to to win his first Majr Championship at The Open the following week at Royal St George’s.
Last year it was the turn of Ernie Els, who honed his links skills on the fairways of Castle Stuart before collecting the second Claret Jug of his illustrious career at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
With a total of seven Major winners, 21 Ryder Cup players and 18 of the 29 European Tour champions from the 2013 season in attendance this week, Castle Stuart is in an excellent postion to continue its record.
Many of the players in the field this week will be playing Castle Stuart for the third consecutive season. Among them will be American superstar Phil Mickelson, who sees so many benfeits from playing on links terrain the week before The Open.
“Playing Castle Stuart gives me a great opportunity to be competitive against a world class field on a links course the week before The Open,” said Mickelson.
Els could not agree more with Mickelson, after the big South African made the tournament a late addition to his schedule for that precise reason.
“Playing the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open is not only the perfect preparation for The Open, it’s also a tremendous tournament in its own right,” said Els, twice a Scottish Open champion.
“Playing links golf in Scotland is such a fantastic experience, especially on a beautiful course like Castle Stuart.
“I have very fond memories of my two wins in the Scottish Open, and if I can win it a third time next week, it would be the perfect platform for my defence of The Open. The Scottish galleries are very knowledgeable, they really know their golf, so if we can get some decent weather we should be in for another great week.”
The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open will prove a landmark event for European Tour coverage in the USA, with the tournament set to become the first European Tour event to be broadcast live on network television in America following a ground-breaking agreement with NBC and the Golf Channel.