CONFIRMATION that Rory McIlroy will play in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open for the first time since 2010 has handed the event a ticket-selling boost.
The two-times major winner, who had hinted as early as last September that he’d be making a welcome return to the event, will headline a star-studded field at Royal Aberdeen on 10-13 July along with the defending champion, Phil Mickelson.
“It’ll be my first time playing Royal Aberdeen,” said McIlroy, who teed up in the event twice at Loch Lomond – in 2008 (joint-19th) and 2009 (joint-46th) – but was a notable absentee during its three-year stint at Castle Stuart.
“I believe it’s a great links with lots of golfing history. I’m really looking forward to the challenge it’ll present. To play some competitive golf on a links course will be great preparation for the Open Championship the following week.”
European No 1 Henrik Stenson, who led heading into the final round last year before being overtaken by Mickelson, has also indicated he’ll be in the line-up at Balgownie. So, too have former US Open champion Graeme McDowell and former world No 1 Lee Westwood, who only played in the first of those events in Inverness.
“The field is going to be very strong,” added McIlroy. “Aberdeen Asset Management has done a great job in promoting the event and bringing some of the best players in the world there. And Phil (Mickelson) will be back, of course, to defend his title.
“I can think of no better preparation for The Open, especially on a respected course like Royal Aberdeen. There will also be so many similarities I can bring to the following week’s Open Championship.”
It was an approach that paid dividends for Mickelson last year as he won both the Scottish Open and Open Championship on successive weekends. Darren Clarke and Ernie Els also claimed Claret Jug triumphs on the back of playing in the Scottish Open after the event was moved to a links course from Loch Lomond.
“Phil winning the double last year made me realise that the Scottish Open is more than good preparation for The Open – he showed it was possible to win both weeks,” admitted McIlroy.
“The Scottish Open going back to a traditional links course was something that made a lot of sense. You can play as much golf on links courses as you want, but until that’s in a competitive environment you can never tell how ready your game will be. It really is so important, then, to get some competitive golf on a true, challenging links.”
McIlroy, who gave himself winning opportunities in both the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and Dubai Desert Classic at the start of his 2014 campaign, is second behind world No 1 Tiger Woods when it comes to pulling crowds in the game at present.
There was an excited reaction on Twitter to his confirmation for Royal Aberdeen and that is likely to intensity in the build up to what will be the first European Tour event to be held in the Granite City.
A season ticket can be purchased for £60 in advance of the tournament – a saving of £20 on admission at the gate. Adult day tickets are currently priced at £25, rising to £35 on the gate. Concessions (60 and over) start at £40 for a season ticket and
£15 for any one-day tickets if purchased in advance.
Under-16s accompanied by an adult are admitted free of charge and all car parking is also free. Entrance to the pro-am on 9 July is £8 in advance and £15 on the day.