Rickie Fowler, the defending champion and new world No 4, could be set to join Rory McIlroy in sitting out this year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart.
The American’s reluctance to commit himself to the event suggests a hectic summer schedule is going to deprive the Scottish Open of the majority of big names who have supported it in recent years.
“I’m going to celebrate this one first,” said Fowler in reply to being asked by The Scotsman during his winner’s press conference in Abu Dhabi if it was likely that he’d be at Castle Stuart.
Determined to back up four big victories in less than 12 months by winning a major, the 27-year-old added: “My focus is on getting ready for Augusta [The Masters] and go from there, but the summer is going to be a bit tough.”
The US Open, WGC Bridgestone Invitational, The Open, US PGA Championship and the Olympics all take place over a nine-week period, with the Scottish Open in the middle of that busy stretch.
McIlroy said he was planning a “week on, week off, week on, week off” approach to that run in a bid to stop himself from being burned out by the time the Ryder Cup comes around in September.