sport

McIlroy sees Scottish benefit

Rory McIlroy has revealed his experience of playing with Phil Mickelson at the 2013 Open swayed him to take part in the Scottish Open this year.

McIlroy sensed an improvement in the American's game at Muirfield in Edinburgh, just a week after Mickelson had triumphed at Castle Stuart.

And as Mickelson strode towards a double success, the Irishman decided he would prepare for The Open in the same manner this time around.

With Luke Donald, Jimmy Walker, Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler all participating this year, the Royal Aberdeen event has one of the strongest line-ups in the history of the Scottish Open.

"Phil definitely opened the eyes of a lot of guys," said McIlroy. "I played the first two rounds with him at Muirfield and I could see he was ready.

"He was sharp, he had played a competitive week the previous week, he won obviously, but he just looked like he was ready for the links challenge and everything that it was going to present us with.

"So, even this time last year I was sort of thinking, I think I might play the Scottish next year. That's not just me. You look at the likes of Justin Rose, even Luke's played a few.

"I bumped into Rickie Fowler this morning, Jimmy Walker, there are a few guys that Phil has really influenced to come over here and play some links golf."

And Fowler, the World No 27, confirmed Mickelson's success had persuaded him to get more familiar with links golf.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge," said the American. "I'm looking forward to getting in contention here and getting ready for next week obviously with the Open Championship coming up and that being one of the final majors of the year.

"But I felt like coming over here and playing some links golf prior. And it's a great event. Obviously Phil's had some fun over here and had success here last year.

"With it being on a great links course it just felt it was a great fit this year to come hang out for the event, to have some fun, and see how we can do."

Meanwhile, Rose was among 11 players to don tartan trousers as a selection of the world's top golfers attempt to raise some money for the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital through one of the event's sponsors.

Rose said: "I think there were 11 of us out here wearing tartans today, and it's all for the Children's Hospital in Aberdeen.