Rethinking the 2015 Scottish Open Field


Jun 18, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Justin Rose hits out of a bunker on the 15th hole in the first round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

I plead guilty to having allowed Rory McIlroy to eclipse a  2015 Scottish Open field that’s rich in talent.  With McIlroy sidelined, I’ve taken a second look and what I see is the potential for stunning golf and cliff-hanging competition: 92 European Tour winners who bring a cumulative 364 victories to Gullane; 8 Major champions who share 15 titles;6 number one-ranked European Tour players; 11 former Scottish Open champions; and 29 Ryder Cup players.  The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open is far more than a warm-up for The Open!

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Looking over the field, I see Phil Mickelson, a long-time Scotland fan who’s teeing it up at the 2015 Scottish Open for the 13th time, as something of a favorite, but Ricky Fowler and Justin Rose are going to make Lefty work for his win, if it’s to be his in the first place.

Rose, who’s ranked 7 in the OWGR — above both Fowler, who’s ranked 9th, and Mickelson at 21st — looks better than either of the Americans.  Rose would like to make it back-to-back victories at Gullane.  Can he do it?  Possibly.

Rose has missed some cuts — most notably at the PLAYERS — but he’s also delivered some championship-level performances, at the Masters, the Zurich Classic and again at the Memorial.  Rose is 13th in the FedEx Cup rankings and 7th in the Race to Dubai.  I think he’ll outplay Mickelson.  Fowler is still a question mark.

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But what about Branden Grace and Shane Lowry?  They’re not going to roll over and give it away without a fight.  Grace was on fire at Chambers Bay.  If he brings that game to Gullane, everybody’s in trouble.

Lowry’s a sleeper, but don’t count him out.  The irishman also delivered a strong game on the very challenging Chambers Bay track and, like Rose and Mickelson, he enjoys playing in the conditions likely to be present this week in East Lothian.  The weather promises to contribute a little bit of everything to the 2015 Scottish Open — some rain, some sun, some wind, some chill.

My two favorite French players — Victor Dubuisson and Alexander Levy — are also in the field and they’ve both shown glimmers of a winning game this year.  Dubuisson looks a bit stronger coming in than Levy but if you’re the gambling sort Levy, at 60:1, has a better payoff.

Finally, there’s young Matthew Fitzpatrick, whose life changed two years ago at the Scottish Open.  The young man from Sheffield knows how to play his way around the Guilane links and he’s been showing some strength — top-10 finishes at Lyoness and the Irish Open.  He’s a 100:1 long shot this week, but he’s going to be worth watching.

BBC Sport will provide highlight coverage for the Scottish Open and Sky Sport will stream the Open live.  US fans should check Golf Channel’s Golf Live Extra broadcast schedule.

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