Next week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Paul Lawrie Match Play at Archerfield Links will have a strong Ryder Cup flavour.
The 64-man field for the event, which is being held at the East Lothian venue for the first time, is set to include a number of players who have either competed in golf’s showcase team tournament or are hoping to do that in September.
The host, of course, is on that list, having made his Ryder Cup debut at Brookline in 1999 and playing his way back on to the European team at Medinah four years ago, when he beat Brandt Snedeker in the Sunday singles to help Jose Maria Olazabal’s team pull off their astonishing fightback on the outskirts of Chicago.
Englishman David Howell has also faced the Americans twice in the biennial encounters, both winning appearances in 2004 at Oakland Hills in Detroit then The K Club in Ireland two years later.
Dane Thomas Bjorn boasts an even more impressive record, having featured on three triumphant team: Valderrama in 1997, The Belfry in 2002 and, most recently, Gleneagles in 2014.
Stephen Gallacher, of course, was also in Paul McGinley’s successful squad in Perthshire and he is another Ryder Cup man set to battle in 32 first-round ties on the Fidra Links a week today.
So, too, are Englishman Oliver Wilson, who played at Valhalla in 2008, and Italian Edoardo Molinari, who made the 2010 team at Celtic Manor in Wales along with his older brother, Francesco.
Of that sextet, both Bjorn and Lawrie are heading to Hazeltine, though not with their clubs on this occasion. They are among the four vice-captains named so far by Darren Clarke, the two others being Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter with one more to come.
But two of the players bound for East Lothian and an exciting return for the European Tour to Scotland’s Golf Coast following last summer’s successful Scottish open at Gullane are certainly in with a chance of being involved in the heat of the battle with the Americans.
English duo Matt Fitzpatrick and Chris Wood both headed into this week’s US PGA Championship at Baltusrol in automatic qualifying positions, having already helped Clarke to an impressive EurAsia Cup triumph in Malaysia earlier this year.
Fitzpatrick is on course to make his Ryder Cup debut on the back of two wins – the British Masters and Nordea Masters – in the qualifying race while Wood’s victory in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May has helped put him in a good position as the battle for spots enters the final few events.
They’ll both be looking to do well at Archerfield Links, where an adult daily ticket costs just £15, with that also securing entry to the Scottish Seniors Open at the same venue a fortnight later.