HAVING proved it can help – both his wins in the event came after he’d warmed up at Pat Ruddy’s splendid European Club in Co Wicklow – Padraig Harrington will again get in some links practice the week before this year’s Open Championship at Muirfield.
The three-time major winner has joined Phil Mickelson in confirming his place in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart on 11-14 July – the third year in a row he’s making the trip to the Inverness venue. He finished 14th in 2011 then 16th last year.
“There is no substitute for competitive play on a links course to prepare for The Open,” said Harrington, who won that event for the first time at Carnoustie in 2007 before making a successful defence of the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale 12 months later.
“You can practise all day long, but you cannot replicate the same conditions on the range as you can on a links course, especially with a scorecard in your pocket and a hugely important title on the line.
“The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open ticks all of those boxes. We have a great venue at Castle Stuart which provides a good test of links golf that demands all of the shots you need to compete at any Open Championship venue.
“We will also have a very strong field, so the level of competition is extremely high. If you can get into contention on Sunday at the Scottish Open, then you are going to take a lot of confidence into the next week.”