While the great and the good of the golfing world descend on Gullane for a shot at the Aberdeen Standards Investments Scottish Open, there is a plethora of home players hoping to get their hands on the silver Quaich trophy.
You have to go back to 1999 for the last time a Scot clinched his home Open when Colin Montgomerie sealed a memorable win at Loch Lomond but the current crop are more than capable of following in his footsteps all the way into the winner’s circle at Gullane this week. Since the tournament moved away from Loch Lomond to a rotation of links courses in 2011 the likes of Russell Knox, Richie Ramsay, Marc Warren, Stephen Gallacher and Scott Jamieson have all recorded some excellent results, with Warren coming closest to winning on the links.
The man from Rutherglen posted third place finishes in 2012 and 2014 and finished in a share of fourth place here at Gullane in 2015. He knows how important this tournament is for his compatriots. “For the Scottish guys, it’s definitely our fifth Major,” he said. “Outside the Majors, it doesn’t get any bigger than this. For all the Scottish guys, it’s second nature to be playing a links course and Gullane is certainly one of the finest.” Knox was another Scottish contender at Gullane with a tenth-place finish three years ago and he was tenth again in 2016 at Castle Stuart.
Born in Inverness, Knox plies his trade on both the European Tour and PGA Tour and he’s playing in his fifth successive Scottish Open. It’s a tournament he looks forward to. “It’s always terrific to be back in Scotland,” said the 32-year-old.
“For the Scottish guys, it’s definitely our fifth Major. Outside the Majors, it doesn’t get any bigger than this. It’s second nature to be playing a links course and Gullane is certainly one of the finest.”
– Marc Warren
“Growing up, my dad used to take us down to Gleneagles to watch the Scottish Open, so to be able to play in such a tournament is a dream come true.” Former Ryder Cup stars Stephen Gallacher and Paul Lawrie have both tasted success on home soil but not in the Scottish Open, while Scott Jamieson finished third at Castle Stuart in 2011 when the tournament had to be curtailed to 54 holes by strong winds and heavy rain. Richie Ramsay finished in sixth place two years ago, just three shots behind winner Alex Noren, while two-time Challenge Tour winner David Drysdale is joining his compatriots in the field this week hoping to go all the way and delight the galleries.