• Justin Rose looks set to be the latest high-profile casualty
• But Phil Mickelson gives hope of Castle Stuart return
SCOTTISH OPEN | JUSTIN ROSE | PHIL MICKELSON
The 2016 Scottish Open looks to have yet another high-profile casualty of the packed summer schedule with 2014 champion Justin Rose expected to give Castle Stuart a miss.
The world No.7, who took the title so impressively at Royal Aberdeen two years ago, is a front-runner to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games and with Rio coming at the end of a 10-week spell which includes the US Open, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the Open and the US PGA Championship, Rose looks like following the lead of Rory McIlroy in opting out of playing the tournament.
"It's kind of a week on, week off type of year" - Justin Rose
“The way it looks like things are set up, it's kind of a week on, week off type of year,” said Rose ahead of his first start of 2016 at the Farmers Insurance Open. “If you're a guy who likes to play the week before a major, I think you're going to have a tough time building a schedule.
“The majors come so thick and fast in the summer that for me, it looks like it's a week on, week off, week on, week off, type of flow. I think that's the way I'm approaching it. Trying to stay fresh. Just work in sprints this year and try and get your down time as best you can.”
Rose finished 74th at Gullane last year, where Rickie Fowler took home the title ahead of Matt Kuchar and Raphael Jacquelin. Fowler himself gave an uncertain assessment of whether he’ll be at the Scottish Open this year after winning in Abu Dhabi last weekend.
Phil offers hope of Castle Stuart return
However, in a timely boost to the tournament, Phil Mickelson offered promising signs that he’d be returning to the scene of the first leg of his historic 2013 double later this year.
The 45-year-old, who has only missed two Scottish Opens since 2003 (in 2006 and 2009), took home the title in a play-off against Branden Grace three years ago before going on to win his fifth major title at Muirfield a week later.
The 2013 Open was Mickelson’s most recent victory and, after starting the year well with a fourth-placed finish at the CareerBuilder Challenge last week, he gave hope to Scottish Open organisers that he’d be teeing it up at Castle Stuart.
“It's when we get into the summer months where the majors are all being condensed because of the addition of the Olympics that things get a little bit chaotic,” admitted the American, also speaking ahead of the Farmers Insurance Open. “But it doesn't really change too much. I'll try to play the weeks before.
"I'm trying to keep it as close to the same as in the past" - Phil Mickelson
“The only one that I won't have a chance to play the week before will be the PGA. So I'll go in early and spend the weekend there. But other than that, I'm trying to keep it as close to the same as in the past.”
Scottish Open field :: Your thoughts
What are your thoughts on what looks like a growing list of absentees for this summer’s Scottish Open? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.