Rolex Series run
The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open is the fifth Rolex Series event of the season, and it is also the final tournament in a three-week run of the premium series of events on the Race to Dubai, following the HNA Open de France and Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.
With a prize fund of $7million and 1.5 times the number of Ryder Cup points on offer, this week provides a fantastic opportunity for players hoping to move up the European points list and cement a place in Thomas Bjørn’s side for the bi-annual event in Paris in September.
Fresh from his first Rolex Series success at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, Scotland’s Russell Knox returns to home soil aiming to become the first back-to-back winner of Rolex Series events.
Knox secured his second European Tour title in dramatic fashion as he defeated New Zealand’s Ryan Fox in a play-off at Ballyliffin. The victory saw him move back into the Top 50 on the Official World Golf Rankings, to eighth on the European Ryder Cup Points List and to fifth on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
The 2018 Masters Tournament winner Patrick Reed and former Scottish Open winners Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson lead the American charge in Gullane this week. The trio sit inside the Top 20 on the World Rankings.
Joining them in Scotland are fellow countrymen Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman, Peter Uihlein and Kevin Chappell, as well as Julian Suri, Harold Varner III, Luke List, David Lipsky, Daniel Im and Chase Koepka.
Mickelson became the first golfer in history to win the Scottish Open and The Open in successive weeks in 2013 when he followed his triumph at Castle Stuart with his fifth Major Championship victory at Muirfield.
Mickelson required a par on the final hole to secure victory, but was forced to play-off against Branden Grace for the title.
Requiring just one extra hole, Mickelson produced a stunning wedge to within a few inches of the hole and Grace could not match his birdie.
The following week, Mickelson trailed 54-hole leader Lee Westwood by five strokes but produced a final round of 66 to finish three strokes ahead of Henrik Stenson and claim the Claret Jug.
Return to Gullane
Gullane bore witness to high drama in 2015 as Rickie Fowler birdied the 72nd and final hole to deny compatriot and Ryder Cup teammate Matt Kuchar to secure his first European Tour title.
Playing in just his second Scottish Open, just months after winning the Players’ Championship, Fowler was two shots off the lead when he bogeyed the 14th hole of the final round. But he responded with birdies on the 15th, 16th and 18th holes to overtake Kuchar - who had set the clubhouse target at 11 under par.
With 16 of the World’s Top 50 golfers in the field this week, including six of the top ten, expect further drama come Sunday evening.