The Scottish Open is in Gullane this week and will host the likes of Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson.

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Lowdown:

An extremely strong field is in Gullane this week for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. Justin Rose defends and 2013 Open champion Phil Mickelson will start.

With just a week to go until The Open Championship at St Andrews, some of the world’s very best players will look to hone their skills on the links at Gullane. Among them will be 2013 Scottish Open and Open champion Phil Mickelson, together with, Rose, Rickie Fowler, Jimmy Walker, Matt Kuchar and Brooks Koepka plus a host of others.

World Number 1 McIlroy was looking forward to the challenge of playing at Gullane but a complete rupture of his left ankle during a football kickabout has forced him to withdraw from the event.

“I know Gullane from my amateur days as it has hosted a lot of great Scottish amateur events,” he’d said. “Adding the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open to my schedule in 2014 proved to be a great move, as it allowed me to get four competitive rounds of links golf under my belt a week before The Open.”

McIlroy is also doubtful for The Open next week.

There’ll be a composite course in operation at Gullane. It will feature 16 holes from Gullane No. 1 course – the 2nd to the 16th, plus the 18th – and two holes from No. 2 course – the 7th and 8th. New championship tees have been built for the 15th and 18th on No. 1 and the 8th on No. 2.

There are three qualifying spaces for The Open Championship on offer this week. Places go to the leading three players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 10 and ties.

The Scottish Open was first contested in 1972, the first year of the European Tour; England’s Neil Coles was the winner. The tournament disappeared from the schedule after 1973 but it was re-established in the 1980s. For eight years the competition was held over the Kings Course at Gleneagles with winners like Ian Woosnam and Jesper Parnevik. There were then two years at Carnoustie before the event moved to Loch Lomond in 1996.

After 15 years at Loch Lomond, from 1996 to 2010, the Scottish Open spent three years on the Moray Firth at the exceptional Castle Stuart where Luke Donald, Jeev Milkha Singh and Phil Mickelson were victorious. Last year at Royal Aberdeen, Justin Rose came out on top. He held on down the stretch despite a valiant effort by Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg.

The weather forecast for the week looks reasonable with only a small chance of rain on Friday and over the weekend. It might be a touch breezy which will heighten the challenge posed by the links.

 

Venue: Gullane GC, East Lothian, Scotland

Date: Jul 9-12

Course stats: par 70, 7,133 yards

Purse: £3,250,000

Defending Champion: Justin Rose (-16)

 

TV Coverage:

Thursday 9 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am

Friday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am

Saturday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 2pm

Sunday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 2pm

 

Player watch:

All eyes will be on the likes of Mickelson, Rose and Fowler. But who else might put in a good showing at Gullane?

Brooks Koepka – The powerful American put in a good showing at Chambers Bay and he enjoys the links. He was tied ninth in the Dunhill Links of last season.

Branden Grace – Another man who enjoys tough conditions and is on good form right now – tied fourth in the US Open. He’s a former winner of the Dunhill Links

James Morrison – The form player on the European Tour right now. He won in Spain in May, he led through 54 holes of the BMW International Open and he was second last week in France.