• There are 14 in the field this year, up ten from 2013
• And more are expected to jet over in the future!
Some of the leading Americans on the PGA Tour have given their reasons behind opting to play the Scottish Open at Gullane this year – with one saying to expect more higher-ranked players at the event in the coming years.
In 2013, when Phil Mickelson captured a Scottish double at Castle Stuart and Muirfield, only four Americans, including the five-time major winner, were in the field that week. Two years later, that number has more than trebled, with 14 players representing the Stars & Stripes at Gullane, 12 of which will be heading on to the 144th Open Championship at St Andrews.
But why the sudden rise? Well, it’s simple according to world No.30 Ryan Palmer, who is playing the Open Championship for a third time next week – and each time he’s played the Scottish Open beforehand.
“It’s good for me to play the Scottish because I’m still trying to get back on time as far as sleep is concerned,” Palmer told bunkered.co.uk. “I think it’d be hard for me to get to Scotland on the Monday of the Open and fight it out.
“So it’s nice to get adjusted and get some rounds in on links courses, get the feel of the greens too because I imagine it’ll be pretty comparable. So, after being here, I know I’ll be going into next week ready and prepared.”
Ben Martin, who grabbed his maiden PGA Tour win at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last October, decided to make his first Scottish Open appearance for a totally different reason: the fact that he just loved his maiden Open Championship experience at Hoylake last year.
“I really enjoyed the Open last year,” said Martin, who finished T26. “It was probably my favourite tournament of the year, so I figured that if I could come over and play another week of links golf then, not only would I enjoy it, but it would help me out in preparation for next week.
"They've just recently started moving the tournament around as well I believe and playing it on links courses has certainly encouraged more American guys to come over, while I’m sure Phil’s success in 2013 has helped also.”
As for Matt Kuchar, whose only other Scottish Open appearance was a top ten finish in 2011, it’s still a case of finding out how best to prepare for the Open Championship and the intense schedule which follows it.
“The British Open is an event I’m still trying to figure out how best to prepare,” admitted Kuchar, who will be playing in his 11th Open Championship next week. “You have all kinds of schools of thought. Should I come in rested with a couple of weeks off? Should I play the John Deere? Should I play the Scottish?
“So I’m still trying to figure out what’s best for me. One of the difficult things is all the golf that follows the British Open, it’s just a huge stretch of almost major championship-like golf for the next two months so it’s all about getting your preparation in place for that.”
And for world No.12 Jimmy Walker, the focus is on one thing: getting into a sleep pattern.
“I think it just gets you over, gets you attuned and into a nice sleep pattern,” he said. “Sometimes that can be hard and I struggle with it every now and then, especially coming over from the States.”
And after rising from four Americans in 2013, to nine last year, to 14 now, will that trend continue? Palmer is in absolutely no doubt, and has already heard some big names are considering the event next year.
“More guys are getting the word out because I believe the Scottish Open has become a pretty good event and it’s fun to be here,” said Palmer. “I’ve heard several higher-ranked guys who are thinking about coming here next year that aren’t here this year and I’m sure we’ll see more and more guys continue do it.”
Scottish Open :: Americans welcome?
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