With the British Open only two weeks away, Phil traditionally caps off his preparation for the third major of the year by playing in the Barclays Scottish Open at beautiful Loch Lomond Golf Club, 30 miles from Glasgow.
Designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, the 7,100 yard parkland course is considered to be among the ‘Top 100′ finest golf courses in the world. The tournament’s field is also of the highest quality: The entry list for this year’s event does include – in addition to Phil Mickelson - the names of Adam Scott, Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood.
Every year I am asking myself if it makes sense for Phil Mickelson to play in this event. The arguments are always the same: Some players – including Phil – will argue that it is important to get back into tournament mode and that competing at the highest level is the best preparation you can get, regardless of the sort of golf course you are playing on. Others – the most prominent example is certainly Tiger Woods – take the week before the British Open off and spend their time practising quietly on some remote English, Scottish or Irish Links course.
You also cannot neglect the fact the Barclays is one of Phil’s most important sponsors and that a participation in their event is certainly part of the sponsoring contract. But does this mean that once again money and commerce are more important than the sporting side of things? I always thought that winning all four major tournaments was the ultimate goal for Phil in his golfing career.
In 2007, Phil shot four great rounds to finish the tournament at 270 (-14) only to loose out to Frenchman Gregory Havret in a sudden death play-off. However, the next week at Carnoustie, Phil was not in such a fine form and – just like Havret - clearly missed the cut. To me this is just another indication that a good result in the Scottish Open does mean nothing for the British Open and that Phil might be better off not playing at Loch Lomond.
What do you think about this? Are four rounds on a parkland golf course the ideal preparation for a Major tournament being played on a links?
Other than that, the Scottish Open is one of my favourite tournaments of the year. The golf course is just fantastic to watch (even on TV) and the quality of the golf is incredible. Add that to Phil’s excellent record at this event and we’re up for a fantastic weekend.