Europe’s Ryder Cup Captain, Darren Clarke, and former winners Luke Donald and Lee Westwood have added further lustre to the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open by announcing that they will tee up at Castle Stuart Golf Links from July 7-10.
The trio will be joined in the Highlands by five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson, the 2010 US Open Champion Graeme McDowell, World Number Six Henrik Stenson and Europe’s 2014 Ryder Cup hero Jamie Donaldson for the 34th edition of the £3.25 million event.
Tickets are now available to see the stars in action in Scotland, the ‘Home of Golf’, at http://www.aamscottishopen.com.
Clarke is yet to taste success in 21 appearances in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, with runner-up finishes in 2003, 2005 and 2010 his best performances to date, and the Ulsterman will be determined to end that barren run at Castle Stuart.
Clarke will also be seeking to hone his links skills at the Inverness venue ahead of The 145th Open Championship, which takes place at Royal Troon Golf Club one week later.
The 47 year old memorably lifted the Claret Jug at Royal St George’s in 2011, having played at Castle Stuart the week before; whilst Mickelson also laid the foundations for his Open Championship triumph with victory there in 2013.
As well as aiding his preparations for The Open, the Ulsterman will also use the opportunity to run the rule over several Ryder Cup contenders, with Donald, Donaldson, Russell Knox, McDowell, Stenson and Westwood all hopeful of making Europe’s line-up at Hazeltine National Golf Club in September.
Clarke said: “The Scottish people are so passionate about golf and the tournament always attracts a very strong field, so I’d love to add the Scottish Open to my CV.
“With my Ryder Cup hat on, I’ll also be using the week to see how some of my potential team members are shaping up ahead of Hazeltine.
“Plus there’s no better preparation for the Open Championship than to test yourself on a links course the week before, so there are many reasons why I’ll be playing the Scottish Open again this year.”
Westwood climbed firmly into contention to claim a tenth successive appearance in The Ryder Cup with a stellar performance in the Masters Tournament, finishing in a share of second place behind his compatriot Danny Willett.
The Englishman will continue his quest to secure a Ryder Cup berth with a 19th appearance in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, a tournament he won in 1998.
Westwood romped to a four-shot victory in the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond Golf Club to claim the fifth European Tour title of his fledgling career. He has since added a further 18 and, following that dazzling display at Augusta National, is hopeful of securing title number 24 at Castle Stuart in July.
Westwood, who recently set up home in Edinburgh, said: “There’s no better place to play golf than Scotland. The courses are amazing, the fans are very knowledgeable, and there’s always a great atmosphere.
“Winning the Scottish Open in 1998 was one of the early highlights of my career, and I’d love to get my hands on the trophy again.”
Donald will also be bidding to lift the trophy for a second time, having prevailed at Castle Stuart in 2011.
With Mickelson (2013), Jeev Milkha Singh (2012) and Donald (2011) all committed to the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, the last three winners at Castle Stuart Golf Links will be reunited this year in Inverness.