American ace Rickie Fowler will almost certainly be back at Gullane next summer to try and land a second Scottish Open win at the East Lothian venue.
“There is a good chance it will be on my schedule next year,” Fowler, who produced a wonder shot at the 72nd hole to win there in 2015, told the Evening News.
“I like playing the week before a major, having done well in the past when that has been the case, and Gullane, of course is a special place for me.
“I also like the golf course there. It’s straight in front of you and, if next year’s Scottish Open fits into my schedule, then I would love to be back playing in it at Gullane.”
Fowler, of course, has now turned his attention to this week’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, where Scottish amateur Connor Syme has landed a dream draw in the opening two rounds.
The 22-year-old will make his first appearance in a major with big-hitting John Daly, who won the 1995 Open at St Andrews just 12 days after Syme was born. “I just saw the draw and it’s cool. I can’t wait,” admitted the Drumoig player, one of five amateurs in the Lancashire line-up this week. “A former champ, I’m really looking forward to that. It’s better than I thought it would be.”
Referring to the fact he came through one of the 36-hole shoot-outs a fortnight ago to secure his place in the field, Syme added: “I wasn’t sure, being a qualifier, if I would be at the back end of the times.
“I’m out early on Friday which I don’t think is a bad thing. Everybody wants to avoid that 3.30 in the afternoon spot on Friday, so that’s good.”
Daly, still one of the game’s most colourful characters, recorded his maiden win on the Champions Tour earlier in the year and will be using this event to prepare for next week’s Senior Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl.
“It’s good to see him back playing and I’ll be able to pick his brains about some of the events he has played in down the years and the things he has won,” added Syme, last year’s Australian Amateur champion and currently sitting ninth in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
“It will be incredible to play with him. My swing is a little shorter than his, he’s got a fair bit of torque, hasn’t he? I can’t wait to see him hit it because he still looks like he is bombing it on the Seniors Tour. It should be class. We’ll probably get a gallery and that should be good. I have a practice round with Paul Lawrie tomorrow as well, two former champions, you can’t beat that.”
Meanwhile, Edinburgh-based Lee Westwood is confident he can shake off his shock split from long-time manager Chubby Chandler to get in the mix this weekend.
“I’m looking forward to playing in the best tournament in the world at what is probably the best links in Britain,” said the former world No 1.
“Hopefully the weather also stays like this because normally the memorable Opens are played in fantastic weather.”
Asked about that split, which came to light last week, Westwood declined to comment.