Cheyenne Woods was pleasantly surprised to enjoy a bit of Scottish sunshine this week as she prepares for her second appearance at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open but has come prepared for the worst.
“This is still pretty cold to me,” said the American with a laugh at Dundonald Links yesterday. “I’ve brought all my layers. Last year was so cold but we came in yesterday [Tuesday] and it was nice to see the sun and wear some shorts.”
The niece of the former world No 1 and 14-times major winner Tiger Woods is competing at the Ayrshire course for a second successive year and hoping to improve significantly on last year’s performance when she missed the cut after rounds of 74 and 79.
Woods, who turns 26 on Monday, feels more prepared for the different conditions than she did 12 months ago and, with this year’s Ricoh British Women’s Open at Woburn next weekend, is relishing what will be her only real links experience of the year when the Scottish Open gets under way tomorrow.
“The biggest thing is just knowing what to except,” she said. “Last year I didn’t really know what the conditions would be like and then I saw the wind and how the course played, with the cold and everything, so this year I feel a bit more prepared.
“I can’t control how anybody else plays so I don’t know where I’ll place but I’ll hopefully bring my best golf.
“I think it’s a nice change. We don’t really get to play links style very often coming from the States. I think this is the only opportunity I’ll have this year. The British isn’t a traditional links course this year and links golf is really fun. You have to play strategically. Think how you go into each hole and how you’re going to hit each shot. It’s not too windy today but I’m sure it will pick up sometime this week. I enjoy it because it is a different style and you can mix things up.”
Woods had her rookie year on the LPGA Tour in 2015 and arrives in Scotland with some decent form, having finished tied for sixth in Portland a few weeks ago.
That was even more impressive given that she had suffered whiplash from a car accident in the lead up to the event.
“It’s much better,” she said of the injury. “It lingered for a while and it wasn’t a fun event but it could have been much worse.”
Meanwhile, internet sensation Paige Spiranac, will be unplugging from her beloved social media as she focuses fully on golf in what is her first ever trip to Europe.
The 23-year-old has become one of the most famous female golfers in the world, although more for her supermodel looks, amassing 92,000 followers on Twitter and 716,000 on Instagram.
A talented college golfer who has been playing on minor tours in the United States since turning pro, she sparked controversy last December when she was invited to play in the LET Dubai Ladies Masters.
The Arizonian was reduced to tears after missing the cut and took a break from social media after being upset by criticism that she didn’t deserve to be playing at such a level.
She has since achieved a win on the Cactus Tour and turned down several other invites due to “not feeling ready” but said the opportunity to play in Scotland was too good to refuse.
Spiranac won’t be letting any online distractions get in the way of business this weekend.
“I have a lot more supporters than people who want me not to do well,” she said. “Nothing will be worse than Dubai. I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t think I would get the criticism I got.
“I felt like it was more of a personal attack on myself and my game. I overreacted. I wasn’t prepared for it.
“Everything about Dubai was amazing, the golf course and everyone there. I just got in my own head with everything and all the media and the criticism. When you’re there too, you blow everything out of proportion, you’re like, everyone hates me; everyone wants me to fail. In reality, that really wasn’t the case.
“I grew a lot and learned a lot so it was probably the best thing that happened to me. Now I’m clear on what I want. And that is to play golf. I stopped all the social media stuff – I still do the odd stuff – but the focus in on golf.”
Spiranac is looking forward to broadening her golfing horizons and believes the trip can help develop her game.
“Everybody says go to Europe and learn,” she said. “That’s where you’ll improve you all round game. I’ll go back to the US and try LPGA Tour q-school but I really want to play on the Ladies European Tour. The different courses, the different conditions. That’s the number one goal.
“I’ve been approached to play in events but since Dubai I’ve turned every one down. I just wasn’t ready.
“But this was too good to turn down. I’ve never been here before but everyone said Dundonald was amazing.
“I can’t remember the last time I played in rain. I think it rains once or twice in six or seven months in Arizona so it will be a little bit different and really fun.”