RORY McIlroy has handed the Scottish Open a huge boost by including the event’s first visit to Royal Aberdeen next July on his 2014 schedule.
It will be the first time the two-times major winner has played in the tournament since finishing joint 46th behind Martin Kaymer at Loch Lomond in 2009.
“Royal Aberdeen is just a great place to play golf,” said McIlroy of a decision that will delight both the European Tour and the event’s title sponsor, Aberdeen Asset Management.
“I don’t feel I got my schedule right, taking time off before The Open in the last couple of years and this is exactly the sort of tough links course I need to play to get in the right frame of mind for Hoylake.”
At a time when the strength of European Tour fields has become seriously weakened by players concentrating on the PGA Tour, McIlroy has also included both the Dubai Desert Classic and Irish Open on next season’s schedule.
“I’m pleased to be able to compete a bit more in Europe,” added the 24-year-old. “All right, Omega sponsor the Dubai tournament and they are also one of my sponsors, so I have a good reason to play there.
“But I also want to play, and so would have played whether Omega were involved or not. I missed it this year – it was a mistake on my part not to play.”
World No 1 Tiger Woods will also be in the field when Stephen Gallacher defends his title in the 25th staging of the Dubai event.