MARC Warren has urged Masters champion Jordan Spieth to join the star-studded cast for this summer’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Gullane in order to boost his chances of landing a second major this season.
In the past few weeks, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Luke Donald have all confirmed they’ll be joining title holder Justin Rose when the celebrated East Lothian venue stages a European Tour event for the first time from 9-12 July.
If I was playing predominately on the PGA Tour, outside of the majors, this would be the first tournament on my schedule to set it up,Marc Warren
More big names are set to be rolled out between now and then and, though they won’t include Tiger Woods after he left the event off a “summer schedule” announced last week, the possibility of Spieth being in the field could be rising.
Early indications after the Texan claimed his Green Jacket at Augusta National last month were that he’d be playing that week in the John Deere Classic, which provided him with his breakthrough win on the PGA Tour two years ago.
However, Spieth has the same management company as Mickelson and, the tartan contingent apart, there is no-one in the game who sells the Scottish Open as a perfect Open Championship-warm up to fellow players better than the man who won both those events in 2013.
Third the year before that and again last season, Warren also knows the value of his home Open these days in terms of the links practice it provides for the Claret Jug joust the following week and he reckons Spieth would be doing himself a favour by playing at Gullane in preparation for that particular major test at St Andrews.
“If I was playing predominately on the PGA Tour, outside of the majors, this would be the first tournament on my schedule to set it up,” he said during a visit to the East Lothian course to announce the appointment of Mindroom as the event’s official charity.
“The two weeks is all about links golf and to play under tournament conditions is an absolute no-brainer. I think it would make perfect sense for Jordan to play and, personally, I’d love to see him play. You want the strongest field possible and I think there is a good chance he will play.
“He seems like a really deep thinker about the game and he’ll look at the schedule, look at the winners and he’ll have plenty of people advising him. Guys at that level, they are not stupid and I’m sure he’ll see massive value in playing this event.”
One Warren would love to win himself after a couple of close shaves, the 34-year-old has already played one practice round at Gullane.
‘It’s a great course and is shaping up really well,” he reported. “The rough is already really thick in places. It just needs a bit more definition between the fairways and first cut of rough, which will happen naturally with the weather.
“‘I think I can contend here. I’ve played a lot of links golf in my career as an amateur, so I feel really comfortable with it. Two top threes in the last two years over two different courses [Castle Stuart and Royal Aberdeen] also shows that the Scottish Open is a tournament suited to my game.”
Warren was “disappointed” that he didn’t make the knock-out stage in last week’s WGC-Cadillac Match Play in San Francisco after beating JB Holmes in his opening match then feeling he “outplayed” Brooks Koepka and Russell Henley only to lose to both of them.
He’s feeling confident, though, about a big run of events over the next two or three months. “I worked on a couple of things on my swing with Alan McCloskey before I went over to America and I think the way I was swinging the club last week was as good as I have ever seen it,” declared the three-times European Tour winner.
“Technically, I’m as strong as I have ever been, so I am really excited about the run ahead. I feel as if my game is in great shape for a really busy summer.
“I’ll spend a lot of time working on my wedges and distance control, maybe a couple of little things on my putting stroke. I think [putting guru] Phil Kenyon is going to come up because in the last couple of months I haven’t putted as well as I normally do.
“It’s tough to shoot the five or six under rounds you need to get right into contention if you’re not quite holing putts.
“Look at the putts Rory holed last week. He’s not world No 1 by mistake. Every part of his game is as strong, if not stronger than anyone else, maybe apart from Jordan Spieth on the greens.”