• Says Mickelson's double win in 2013 has improved that
• Doesn't want to criticise Spieth's 'loyal' John Deere decision
Ryder Cup-winning captain Paul McGinley said he’s surprised more golfers don’t choose to play in the Scottish Open the week before an Open Championship, but hailed the strength of this year’s line-up nonetheless.
The 48-year-old alluded to the double triumph of Phil Mickelson and Castle Stuart and Muirfield in 2013 as a driving factor behind the improved fields at the event, as back then the five-time major winner was one of only four Americans in the field at the Scottish Open. For this year’s event at Gullane, that figure has trebled.
"If we see someone do something successfully, we follow them" - Paul McGinley
“Golfers, in my experience, we’re all like sheep,” said Paul McGinley, who was speaking after being presented with the captaincy of Ballantine’s Golf Club from Ian Poulter yesterday evening. “If we see someone do something successfully, we follow them.
“I think Phil’s success at Castle Stuart and Muirfield two years ago has resulted in very strong Scottish Open fields these past two years because players are starting to think yes, I need to come over.
“I’m surprised everybody doesn’t do it to be quite honest because, taking tennis for example, there’s not one player at Wimbledon who wouldn’t have played a warm-up on grass beforehand. It’s the same when they play on hard courts at the US Open and also clay and I believe it should be the same when it comes to golf. I’m surprised that every player playing in the Open next week isn’t coming here to play a links golf course.
But the Irishman was quick to point out that his comments weren’t a criticism of double major winner in 2015 Jordan Spieth, who has chosen to honour a pre-arranged agreement to play in the John Deere Classic, the scene of his major PGA Tour victory back in 2013.
“I know it’s very contentious with Jordan who’s decided to remain in America and a lot of people over there believe that he’s lessened his chances of winning a third major in a row,” Paul McGinley said.
"It will be interesting to see, as his career evolves, what his attitude will be" - Paul McGinley
“Everyone knows that playing a lush, inland course is very different to playing a links golf course. Can you prepare yourself in a couple of days to go and win? Guys have done that, but about 95% of the guys who have won in the past 20 years have played on links the week before.
“I don’t want to see this as a criticism of Jordan though because I admire what he’s doing. It’s more about loyalty for him than anything else. He’d made a commitment before knowing he was going to win two major championships and that’s to be admired, not criticised. It will be interesting to see, as his career evolves, what his attitude will be going down the road in preparing for the Open, because it is a very different form of golf as we all know.”
Paul McGinley is the new Ballantine's Golf Club captain. Join the club to enjoy exclusive content, rewards and playing opportunities for free at ballantinesgolfclub.com.
Paul McGinley :: Scottish Open
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