Open champion HenrikStenson will make his first appearance on Scottish soil since securing the greatest victory of his career, when he tees it up at the 2017 Scottish Open at Dundonald Links from July 13-16.
Stenson, who broke a plethora of long-standing records to win his first major championship at Royal Troon last summer, will return to the Ayrshire coast this summer - just six miles from the scene of that memorable victory - for his tenth Scottish Open appearance.
This year’s event will also be the third event in the European Tour’s new Rolex Series, a premium category of tournaments each with a minimum prize fund of $7million.
Scottish golf fans will be hoping that Stenson will bring his 2016 Open Championship form to Dundonald in July after his unforgettable battle with five-time major winner Mickelson at Royal Troon.
Stenson went toe-to-toe with Mickelson in a thrilling final round, carding a Sunday 63 to equal the lowest round in major history and also set the lowest aggregate score ever recorded in a major.
The battle drew comparisons with the legendary ‘Duel in the Sun’ between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus just along the coast at Turnberry in 1977.
Scotland’s national open has been an invaluable part of Stenson’s preparations for the Open in recent years.
A third place finish at Castle Stuart Golf Links in 2013 propelled him to runner-up spot at the Open the following week, where on that occasion he was second to Mickelson. Then, after a two-year absence from the event, a 13th place finish in 2016 preceded a role reversal as he came though that famous battle to lift the Claret Jug.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to Scotland and to playing at Dundonald, which is just down the road from Troon,” said the Swede. “Obviously, that’s going to make it a special week for me. It’s a tournament which has helped me prepare really well for the Open and I’m looking forward to the new venue at Dundonald. I played the Scottish Open in 2013 and went on to finish second to Phil in the Open the following week. Then I missed Scotland for a couple of years and didn’t do that well the following week. I played last year the week before Troon and we all know how that turned out, so playing in the Scottish Open definitely helps to fine tune the links game.“
Stenson joins a strong cast of players expected to play in this year’s Scottish Open, amongst them former Masters champion Adam Scott, rising star Jon Rahm and a stellar cast of home-grown players.
Russell Knox, Scotland’s highest ranked player on the Official World Golf Rankings, will make his fourth consecutive appearance at the tournament, as he and his compatriots aim to become just the second Scot to win the tournament.
“The Scottish Open is the No.1 tournament on my schedule every year,” said Knox. “I love going home to play in front of the Scottish fans. I’ll really look forward to it, try not to put any extra pressure on myself and just look to enjoy my week.
“I would love to win. It’s been a dream of mine since I used to go and watch the tournament when I was a little boy. To have the chance on the last day there would be a ‘pinch yourself’ moment.”
Former Open champion Paul Lawrie will also join the field, alongside David Drysdale, Stephen Gallacher, Richie Ramsay and Marc Warren.