x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Players have no excuse for no show at Scottish Open

The tournament will this year, for the first time, take place right by the sea allowing golfers to practise at a links course ahead of British Open.

There should really be no notable absentees when play starts today at the new-look Scottish Open.

For many a year, the European Tour players, led most vocally by the normally laid-back Padraig Harrington, complained that this tournament was played a week before the British Open and not on a links course.

The fact Loch Lomond, which is inland, is a beautiful place to hit a golf ball around is not up for debate, but while the prize money went up, the big names slowly but surely said "thanks, but no thanks".

Phil Mickelson, who like the tournament is sponsored by Barclays, was always there, as were a few more such as Ernie Els and some of the best Europeans.

But too many of the stars did not show, preferring instead to visit the location for the next week's major or any links course to hone the skills needed to win the famous Claret Jug.

Well they got their wish.

The tournament will this year, for the first time, take place at Castle Stuart near Inverness, which is right by the sea. Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer will join Mickelson and, of course, Harrington, in the Scottish Highlands.

So now they must turn up every year in the first week of June, or what was the point in all that moaning? The players are the ones who wanted to take this away from Loch Lomond, a beautiful course that now has an uncertain future. They should not turn their backs on it in 2012.

We shall see if they do.