With a strong field of European Tour players teeing it up in The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on Thursday morning it became very difficult to pick who might dethrone 2013 winner, Phil Mickelson. The obvious missing players this week that would make it a full house before the Open Championship kicks off next week are US Open Champ, Martin Kaymer, 2013 FedEx Cup and Race To Dubai Champ, Henrik Stenson, and Graeme McDowell who got his first 2014 victory at the Alstom French Open last week.
Phil Mickelson comes into Aberdeen this week as the defending champ after winning both stops here in 2013, but continues to struggle in the 2014 season. Is this the incentive the five-time major champ needs to get off the snide this year, or will he have his mind on the 2015 US Open next June?
The 2013 US Open Champion seems to have the shoulder problems that has plagued him for the biggest share of the 2014 season behind him and looks to have his game back on track after winning on the US Open layout at Congressional two weeks ago. After the success Rose has found state-side in the past couple of years, it’s time for him to show the folks at home his new-found game. Royal Aberdeen would be a great place to start, and who knows? Maybe he can pull off two in a row like Phil did last year.
The four-time major champion hasn’t won on the European Tour since his 2012 victory at Royal Lytham St. Annes two years ago, but has shown some promise. The Big Easy typically plays well in Great Britain, and since he has spent some time switching back to a shorter putter, is starting to feel comfortable on the greens again. A fourth place finish at the Accenture Match Play Championships proves that at age 44, he can still play this game at the highest level. He missed the cut in 2013, but looks to have his game back on track, and should play well this week.
With Rory McIlroy’s erratic schedule, it’s very difficult to get a handle on how he will play this week in Aberdeen. The last time he played in the UK, he was lifting a trophy at the BMW PGA Championship. He almost looked like the old Rory in the finale’ at Virginia Waters, and showed signs of resuming his role as a top player in the world. I look for him to be well rested, and think we will see some good play out of him in the next two weeks. He isn’t back to 100% yet, but he’s still as good as a lot of players on both the PGA and European Tours.
Rickie Fowler has only won one tournament at this point in his career, but during the 2014 season he has been able to stand up in the big events with the World-Classed fields, and the Scottish Open shouldn’t be any different. The 25 year-old from Murietta, California has had big finishes at The Masters in 2014 as well as, the US Open. and the Accenture Match Play Championship. His only blemish this year was a T44 at Doral. He snagged a T5 at Augusta, and a T2 at Pinehurst along with a solo third at Dove Mountain. Rickie Fowler is posed to win a big one soon, why not this week in Aberdeen?
Come on! I had to put Phil Mickelson on this list. He did something no one in history had ever accomplished here last year. On any given day, Lefty can tee it up and win on any tour. He just hasn’t looked good in 2014 , and has been unable to make a putt that counted. That could all change this week, and he could go on another tear. He loves playing in Great Britain, and we all know he can win at Aberdeen.