Normally keen for a pre-Scottish Open chat, Phil Mickelson, pictured below, declined that opportunity after arriving in Gullane for this week’s event. “I think I’ll pass on that. I may see you later,” replied the 2013 winner on being asked by members of the Fourth Estate for a few minutes of his time before heading out for a practice round.
It is believed that Mickelson had already declined an opportunity to conduct an official interview in the media centre, having done so just about every year he’s played in that event and, in fairness, he is one of its most loyal supporters.
He’s clearly not keen to talk about what happened when he intentionally hit a moving ball on the green in last month’s US Open and, in fairness again, has apologised for his behaviour at Shinnecock Hills. But surely it would be better for him to get a few awkward questions out of the way before turning his attention to trying to win this event and The Open Championship, of course, for a second time.
Five-time Open champion Tom Watson was once told – politely it must be said – to get off the West Links at North Berwick after jumping on for a few holes when he was staying in the Marine Hotel. His compatriot, Rickie Fowler, had no such problems when he turned up for a game there on Monday night ahead of his bid to repeat a 2015 triumph at Gullane in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.
Pulling his own trolley, Fowler played with his caddie and manager and, by the end of his round, around 20 people were watching. “He could not have been any more polite or gracious,” said Scott Gillies, one of the club’s PGA pros. “He was very interested in the history of the course and surrounding area and asked many questions.
“At North Berwick, we pride ourselves in not publicising VIP visitors before they arrive so that they can enjoy a peaceful and relaxed round of golf. He was more than happy to engage with members and staff.”