Ryder Cup heavyweights Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood have confirmed they will join one of the strongest fields in the history of the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen in July.
Clarke and Westwood, who are also close friends off the course, have formed one of most formidable Ryder Cup partnerships of recent times, winning six points out of a possible eight when paired together in golf’s greatest team event.
Former Open champion Clarke, who in the 2010 Scottish Open finished runner-up to Edoardo Molinari, is hoping he can add a 15th title to his European Tour trophy haul in the Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored event, which runs from July 10 to 13.
The Northern Irishman said: “It is no secret that I love links golf. So to have a new links course on The European Tour’s international schedule is very exciting for me and especially at an event with which I feel I have a real affinity. The Scottish golf fans are some of the most knowledgeable in the world, so it is always a pleasure to return to this event and I hope that I can give them something to shout about.”
Westwood, the former world number one and the first winner of the Race to Dubai back in 2009, returns to this event, which he won in 1998, for the first time in three years.
The Englishman also has a proven track record in Scotland, having also captured the Alfred Dunhill Links championship at St Andrews in 2003.
Westwood said: “I am really looking forward to returning to the Scottish Open.
“It is a course I have never played in competition so it is going to be a new challenge and I have heard great things about it.
“It will also be the perfect place to prepare for the Open championship and that is one of the reasons why I have made the decision to return this year.
“Of course, being a former winner of this event makes it extra special for me and hopefully I can feed off the positivity that brings and challenge for the title.”
Defending champion Phil Mickelson, two-time major tournament winner Rory McIlroy and Jimmy Walker, three-time winner this year on the US PGA Tour, have all confirmed their attendance.