Louis Oosthuizen is relishing the prospect of putting his links expertise to the test at Castle Stuart this week as he attempts to claim his third title of the season with victory at the Scottish Open.
The former Open champion, who won by a commanding seven shots at St Andrews in 2010 for his maiden major championship, admits he cannot wait to test his game on the Inverness track for the first time.
“Scotland for golf is a great place,” said Oosthuizen, who narrowly lost out to Bubba Watson in a playoff at The Masters in April.
“It’s a special place to be and when you walk on these links courses, it’s just something really special. It’s nice to be on a course that’s a bit different.
“There’s a lot of shot making and just the way it was supposed to be from the start.”
While Oosthuizen didn’t tee up in the weather-shortened 54-hole event 12 months ago, the South African confirmed he won’t mind if the heavens open once again.
“From what I’ve heard, Castle Stuart is a great track, so if the weather stays this way, it will be difficult,” he added.
“But links golf should be harsh weather, it should be rainy and it should be windy. Otherwise, it’s not the way it should be.”
The Scottish Open will mark Oosthuizen’s first event on European soil this season and he believes the recent work he’s put in with coach Pete Cowen will reap the rewards this summer.
“I’ve been up and down the last two and half months after winning in Malaysia and haven’t been playing very well.
“But I’ve been working on a few things with my coach and it’s slowly getting there. I’ve found something and I’ve started hitting it nicely again. I need to play well this week just to get the confidence up a bit for next week at the Open Championship.”
Luke Donald will look to celebrate 52nd collective week as World No.1 with a successful title defence of the Scottish Open, which he secured with a 54-hole total of 19-under last season.
Donald, who overhauled the World No.1 record of 50 weeks set by Ian Woosnam last week, moves up to third in the all-time European World No.1s.
Among the eight Europeans to have topped the rankings, only the great Severiano Ballesteros (61 weeks) and Sir Nick Faldo (97 weeks) have spent more time than the 34-year-old Englishman at the game’s summit.
Other players in the field this week include in-form duo Padraig Harrington and Francesco Molinari, as well as two-time Scottish Open champion Ernie Els.
Castle Stuart Golf Links, Inverness, Scotland
Thursday July 12 to Sunday July 15
Par-72; 7,193 yards
€3,168,000 (winner: €518,045)
Luke Donald (-19; event cut short to 54 holes)
Most wins: 3 Ian Woosnam (1987, 1990, 1996)
Lowest score to par: -20 Ian Woosnam (1987; King’s Course, Gleneagles)
Did you know?
From 2001 until 2010, the Scottish Open was played at Loch Lomond. Some concern was expressed that the host course, which is very different from the links courses on which the Open Championship is played, puts European Tour players at a disadvantage in the subsequent major, compared to their leading rivals from the PGA Tour, who traditionally spend a week practising for the Open on links courses in Ireland.
Thursday: Sky Sports 1 from 10.30am
Friday: Sky Sports 1 from 10.30am
Saturday: BBC Two from 1pm
Sunday: BBC Two from 2pm