JUST A WEEK out from the 2012 British Open and many competitors will be honing their links golf skills at the Scottish Open this week.
That includes the likes of defending champion and world No.1 Luke Donald, late US entrant Phil Mickelson and host of other major winners.
Wild weather shortened the event at the Castle Stuart Golf Links 12 months ago to 54 holes and lots of money has been spent in the meantime improving the course.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Donald said. “Every time you come back to an event that you won the year before, so many good memories come back of what you did well, the good experiences, and obviously that last round (he shot 63 in the third round) was pretty special.
“It was one of those rounds where everything seemed to click in place, one of those easy rounds of golf where every putt went in when I needed it to, and hit a lot of good quality shots. So I’m excited to be back here.”
This week also sees Donald complete his 52nd week at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings.
“Obviously I’m very proud of that – to be a collective year at Number One is something I’m very proud of,” he said.
Mickelson has been a regular participant at the Scottish Open but wasn’t scheduled to compete this year until he missed the cut at the Greenbrier Classic last week.
His presence brings the number of major champions competing to 10. The list includes retuning-to-form triple major winner Padraig Harrington, 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and double US Open winner Ernie Els.
“I like to play links golf before I get to the (British) Open,” Harrington said.
“I think it’s a distinctly different form of golf than what we regularly get. I know some people don’t like playing the week before a major, but there’s no substitute for playing competitive links golf.”
Australians competing include Aaron Baddeley, Marcus Fraser, Richard Green, Brett Rumford, Andrew Dodt and Matthew Zions.
The 2012 Scottish Open is being broadcast in Australia on Foxtel. Fox Sports coverage begins 11.30pm to 3.30am Thursday.
2012 Scottish Open Leaderboard2012 Scottish Open Leaderboard