Castle Stuart provides valuable links warm-up for world's best at Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open

By Kiel ChristiansonJuly 15, 2012, 8:25 pm

Last year's highly anticipated debut of critically acclaimed Castle Stuart Golf Links, in its first year of hosting the Scottish Open, was rudely truncated by rain of biblical proportions.

This year, despite an unseasonably cold and rainy summer even for Scotland, the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open has been graced with relatively benign weather and player-friendly conditions – the sort of conditions, in fact, that await next week at The Open Championship at the equally green and soft Royal Lytham & St Annes.

Scores were low here, but players are raving about the links tune-up they're experiencing at Castle Stuart.

In a pre-tournament interview, Padraig Harrington stressed the importance of warming up the week before The Open on a links.

'I was a big advocate when The Scottish Open was at Loch Lomond,' explained Harrington. 'I said, look, I want to play links golf that week. If you move it to a links golf course, I'll be there. They have done that, and I couldn't see myself not playing in The [Aberdeen Asset Management] Scottish Open now because it's on a links. It's ideal. Having it on a links golf course gives you ideal practice.'

Clearly, Harrington's view is shared by many, but there are exceptions. In fact, the highest-ranked U.S. player in the field, Phil Mickelson, is ranked currently #16, meaning that the eight higher-ranked U.S. players decided they could do without a linksland work-out (as did a few Euro players, including world #2, Rory McIlroy).

Phil's spot in the field was not assured, however. Earlier this week, I was chatting with a member of the tournament invitation committee over haggis and $2200 a-bottle single malt Glenglassaugh whisky (I kid you not) at the posh, centuries-old Culloden House. He told me that the committee was holding one invitation in their back pockets in case they got a last-minute call from a big name.

'We thought we'd probably hear from Lee [Westwood],' he confided. But When Phil missed the cut at The Greenbrier, we got a call from him the next day [while Westwood made the cut in France]. I'm not sure what we would have done if they'd both called.'

So you think Phil is just over here for a pre-Open family trip? Think again. The day I arrived — the second day of the tournament — I was hosted by Aberdeen Asset Management for a round at former Walker Cup host Nairn Golf Club. As we were leaving the car park, guess who pulled in for a late evening round? Mickelson.

Phil had shot a 73 on the opening day, and a 64 on the second day, and he wanted to get in some more linksland work. The rumpled fairways of Nairn, about twenty minutes from Inverness, provided just the ticket, while the fairways are narrower and the greens smaller at Nairn as well. Phil did take a buggy out for his Nairn round, though, to 'conserve energy.'

Did the extra links work help? On Saturday Phil followed his 64 with a round of 65 and to crawl within three strokes behind Molinari (he would finish with a 74 on Sunday to finish T-16), who would eventually lose in a playoff to Jeev Milkha-Singh.

Just as important, he's having a great warm-up for next week's Open Championship.

Click here to view tee times in the Scottish Highlands on

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.