1. A home winner
If there’s one thing left that Paul Lawrie wants to win it’s the Scottish Open. “I’ve made no secret of the fact that, before I stop, I would like to have the Scottish Open on my CV,” he reiterated earlier in the year. The crowds at Royal Aberdeen would love it if Lawrie won.
Richie Ramsay is another Aberdonian hoping to triumph this week, and he knows Royal Aberdeen inside out. “I know every green, every undulation, every slope. I know pretty much all there is to know,” he said in the latest issue of bunkered.
Stephen Gallacher is highest ranked Scot in the field and that brings with it expectation. A win here would send a stern message to his Ryder Cup rivals.
Two years ago Marc Warren looked like he was destined to become the first Scot to lift the trophy in over a decade. He crumbled on the final holes and the tournament, and a spot in the Open, slipped through his grasp. He will be looking to put the ghost of Castle Stuart to rest.
2. Course balance
The players this week want to be tested before the Open, but not beaten up. If they hit poor shots they should be punished. However, the course shouldn’t match the demands of an Open course. If players come away from Royal Aberdeen exhausted before the Open begins, next year we may see a few names heading elsewhere.
3. Top players at their best
Every tournament needs sponsors and a buzz around the action. Nothing grabs the headlines more than top players battling it out at the business end of a tournament. If one of the big guns wins this week it will be a major boost for the profile of the Scottish Open. See Phil Mickelson’s win last year.
4. Good crowds
Aberdeen is an area which loves its golf. In the past Royal Aberdeen has hosted the Seniors Open and the Walker Cup. If the people of Aberdeen turn out for the Scottish Open the event will be viewed as a success.
5. The weather
Something outwidth the control of the organisers, but a bit of sunshine can make all the difference. If the weather’s good then the crowds will be too. The players enjoy it more and the Scottish Open, which will be broadcast live in the states, looks better to a global audience.