• Scottish Open

McIlroy joins Royal Aberdeen field, challenges Mickelson

ESPN staff
February 10, 2014
McIlroy will follow Mickelson's lead © AP

Inspired by Phil Mickelson's back-to-back wins last year, Rory McIlroy has committed to playing in this year's Scottish Open ahead of the following week's Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

Mickelson carded a score of 17-under par to edge out Branden Grace at Castle Stuart last time out, before heading to Muirfield where he lifted the Claret Jug for the first time.

In previous years, McIlroy has preferred to take two weeks off prior to majors, but a change in strategy means he will schedule in the event - which this year moves to Royal Aberdeen.

"Phil winning the double last year made me realise that the Scottish Open is more than good preparation for The Open," McIlroy told golf magazine Bunkered. "He showed it was possible to win both weeks.

"The Scottish Open going back to a traditional links course was something that made a lot of sense. I can think of no better preparation for the Open, especially on a respected course like Royal Aberdeen.

"You can play as much golf on links courses as you want, but until that's in a competitive environment you can never tell how ready your game will be. It really is so important to get some competitive golf on a true, challenging links.

"There will also be so many similarities I can bring to the following week's Open Championship. It'll be my first time playing Royal Aberdeen, too. I believe it's a great links with lots of golfing history. I'm really looking forward to the challenge it'll present."

McIlroy and defending champion Mickelson are expected to be joined by Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose.

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