European Tour Analyst Jay Townsend joined Morning Drive on Wednesday from the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links. This is the second year that the Scottish Open is being played at Castle Stuart and players love the course because the links course provides great preparation for The Open Championship and it is designed to create confidence in players by providing plenty of opportunities to make birdies.
Appearance fees are a way of life on the European Tour and although many would not like to admit it, it has been a way of life in the United States as well. The difference is that the European Tour has been more open about it and players are not under the impression that there are not appearance fees on the PGA TOUR because there are appearance fees although they may not carry that exact label.
The reaction to the 8-man Match Play event in Turkey this October from the European Tour is that it is a win-win situation in that the Match Play event will have a great field and starting in 2013, there will be a full-field event in Turkey. In a world where the economy is as unstable as it is, the European Tour is definitely happy to add the Turkish Open to the schedule starting next year.
Phil Mickelson typically plays the week before Major Championships and when you consider that he has been in a bit of a slump lately, it is a very good thing that he decided to play this week. Castle Stuart is a course that is setup to create confidence in players so this is a great chance for Mickelson to get his game back on track.
In his second visit to Wednesday’s Morning Drive, Townsend began by saying that Lee Westwood had a bit of a scare last week in Paris when he hurt his right knee and groin muscle before the third round of the Alstom Open de France. The reason it was a scare was because the injury was the same one that he suffered in 2010 which derailed what was looking to be a true career year. Instead, he was forced to sit out several weeks between the 2010 Open Championship and the Ryder Cup and Westwood certainly does not want to do that again this year.
Westwood is trying to build his schedule around the Major Championships in a number of ways including the way he schedules his tournaments and even moving his family from England to South Florida. He knows that he is running out of opportunities to win Major Championships and he is committed to trying to prepare himself better. Royal Lytham sets up well for his game and Townsend would not be surprised to see Westwood contend next week. Westwood is very English in the sense that he is very comfortable in his home country and does not like to travel abroad unless he has to. The fact that he is willing to move his family to Florida on a year-round shows how much he is willing to commit to try to win that first Major Championship.
Martin Kaymer has had a quiet 2012 season and certainly not the season that many expect after his successful 2010 season where he won five times including the PGA Championship. Kaymer’s problem may be that he has trouble saying no to people and as a result he has stretched himself too thin with worldwide tournament commitments. Over time, he has exhausted himself and his game has suffered as a result. Kaymer has said that he is working to reduce his schedule and if he can do that, Townsend can see Kaymer regaining a higher profile.