All Eyes on Scotland :
After his victory in Ireland last week, Monty is in his homeland for two huge weeks in European golf. It is in fact the beginning of four huge weeks for Scottish golf, culminating with the Ricoh Womens British Open at St. Andrews. Sandwiched in between are this weeks Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond, the Open at Carnoustie, and the Senior British Open at Muirfield.
The entry list at Loch Lomond this week is like a major. I think one of the most exciting aspects for the Scottish fans is being able to see a player like Phil Mickelson up close and personal. Galleries in the United States take it for granted, but because Phil chooses not to play internationally very often, the folks in western Scotland will be given a treat. The American amateur Drew Weaver, who was recently crowned Amateur Champion, will play as well, giving him much needed experience with the pros ahead of Carnoustie.
Ones to Watch:
Speaking of Carnoustie, let's look at some players to watch ahead of the Open:
Justin Rose: Im staying on the Rose train as I have all year. Hes going to play well at Carnoustie. Along with coach Nick Bradley the pair have put together a schedule which allows him to peak at the majors, even despite the back injury, which personally I dont think has done his major chances any harm. By not playing as much, hes been rested for the big weeks. Rose and Bradley will work together at a couple of links venues away from the prying eyes this week to give his game time to adjust to the different conditions. Expect good things from Rose.
David Frost: This is somewhat of a milestone for the 47-year-old South African as the 136th Open Championship will be his 20th appearance. He has been playing well in Europe this season and he was in contention at Carnoustie in 1999. Hes been struggling to put four very good rounds together this year, but for those of you who like to back an outsider with good odds, Frost is a great candidate.
Peter Baker: The 1993 European Ryder Cup team member is making a comeback. A winner on the Challenge Tour in recent weeks, Baker is beginning to find some form and qualified through the International Final Qualifier at Sunningdale. A good week would breathe new life into his career. He's a good bet for a top-10 finish.
Colin Montgomerie: Having won in Ireland, you cant write him off. He holds the course record of 64, shot at the Scottish Open in 1995, along with a chap called Alan Tait. Montgomerie has played Carnoustie every year since 2001 in the Dunhill Links Championship and the support for him will be tremendous.
Richard Sterne: The South African is having a tremendous year on the European Tour, currently eighth on the Order of Merit with one victory to his credit. He lacks experience in the Open Championship having played just once before, missing the cut at Hoylake last year, but I think the win will give him a lot of confidence for his second career major start.
Starting on Tuesday of Open week, I will be writing an Open blog on GOLFCHANNEL.com, giving you an idea of what life is like behind the scenes for us on the grounds at Carnoustie. I was in studio last year, so this will be the first Open Championship Ive worked with GOLF CHANNEL. It should be a fun, stressful, interesting and exciting week.
Tom Abbott will host GOLF CHANNELs coverage of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, presented by Kroger starting on Friday at 8pm BST. Available on Sky Digital Channel 423.
Email your thoughts to Tom Abbott