2016 Scottish Open: Phil Mickelson unsure over future participation

By Martin DowdenBBC Scotland at Castle Stuart
Phil Mickelson salutes the galleries at last year's Open at St Andrews
Mickelson has always been a major draw for Scottish galleries

American star Phil Mickelson is unsure if he will return to play in the Scottish Open every year if the tournament continues to change venue.

The five-time major champion won at Castle Stuart in 2013 before winning The Open at Muirfield the week after.

The Scottish Open has since been staged at Royal Aberdeen and Gullane, and next year will take place at Dundonald.

"I doubt it will be the last time I will play but I don't know if it will be an every year occurence," he said.

"I know it was difficult to get accustomed to Royal Aberdeen, and to get accustomed to Gullane. As much as I love those golf courses - I thought they were terrific, and I hear great things about Dundonald - I don't know how my schedule is going to play out.

"I have played in the Scottish Open now for 15 years or so and it has been a real treasure for me. I really enjoy coming over early and playing here. I enjoyed Loch Lomond too.

"But when it moved to links golf, I thought it really added a great flavour to this tournament. It was a great move."

Scottish Open 'doesn't beat you up'

Four players in the world's top 20 - Henrik Stenson (ranked six), Branden Grace (10). Patrick Reed (13) and JB Holmes (20) - will feature at Castle Stuart this week, along with Englishman Chris Wood (24), US Open runner-up Shane Lowry (26) and local hero Russell Knox (27).

But Mickleson, now ranked 21, remains a huge draw for the Scottish Open galleries.

He maintains the event is perfect preparation for next week's Open Championship at Royal Troon, where he will seek a second Claret Jug.

"It doesn't beat you up like we will get beat up next week, which is why I love coming here so much," added the 46-year-old.

"It gives you a chance to get accustomed to the wind, the air, the fescue grass, the challenge of links golf, playing the ball on the ground, getting it out of the air.

"But it doesn't beat you up and punish you the way the Open Championship does, so you arrive at The Open fresh and ready to play, as opposed to worn out already."

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