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Golf Australia Express : Launch
THE EVENT Played the week before the British Open, the Barclays Scottish Open has become somewhat of an iconic tournament on the international golfing calendar. Showcasing the finest courses Scotland has to offer, the first events were played at Downfield and St Andrews in 1972 and ’73 respectively. After a 13-year break the event returned to the tour schedule at Haggs Castle. Following that, eight titles were contested at Gleneagles and two at Carnoustie before the championship spent its longest stint at one course—15 years at the wonderful Loch Lomond Golf Club. Now it’s time for the stunning (and challenging ) highland links course at Castle Stuart Golf Links to show its worth. Only Ian Woosnam and Ernie Els have twice laid claim to the Scottish Open title. Last year, Edoardo Molinari captured his maiden European Tour win here, earning him a spot on Europe’s Ryder Cup Team as Monty’s final Captain’s pick. THE COURSE The first three holes on both nines play away from the defining art deco clubhouse, hugging the visually spectacular Moray Firth coastline all the way. The remainder of the course sits mostly atop a plateau and the stair-step nature of its layout creates an impression of ‘infinity greens’—they appear to be hanging right over the edge of the water! Amazing. The views from the course are spectacular, from Castle Stuart itself—a regal 17th century citadel positioned behind the fourth green—to the Chanonry lighthouse across the Moray Firth to the east. Have we mentioned the Kessock Bridge— the gateway to the Highlands capital of Inverness to the west—can also be seen from on course? We don’t care how focused these guys reckon they are, magnificent views like that must be a distraction for any golfer. WHO’LL BE THERE? It’s no surprise many of the world’s best will be in Inverness this weekend. Where would you be playing one week out from a British open? Used as a lead-in event to the year’s third major, five of the top 10 players in the world are Scottish Open bound. Check it out: • Luke Donald (1) • Lee Westwood (2) • Phil Mickelson (6) • Matt Kuchar (7) • Graeme McDowell (8) Throw in local lad Martin Laird and names like Retief Goosen, Justin Rose and defending champ Edoardo Molinari and we’re in for one helluva battle. Exciting enough for you? Well it should be. OTG July 7-10, 2011 Castle Stuart Golf Links, Inverness, SCOTLAND Purse: £3,000,000 Defending Champ: Edoardo Molinari (ITA) What’s happening on the European Tour this week PEEK THE “I know I’m looking forward to testing my game on a strong links course the week before The Open Championship.” — Phil Mickelson GREAT SCOT FUN FACT SCOTTISH OPEN Golf funnyman and CBS commentator David Feherty won the 1986 Scottish Open in a playoff with Australia’s Ian Baker-Finch and Ireland’s Christy O’Connor Jr. In a 2007 interview, the Northern Irishman told of how he was handed the event trophy: “A big-ass silver cup. The oldest trophy in all of sport. I drank all sorts of crap from it,” he said. A celebratory bender ended with Feherty waking up two days later on the 16th tee at Gleneagles. The cup was missing. “ They never did find it. That was a low point,” he said.