The Open Championship 2013: Phil Mickelson Will Silence Critics at Muirfield

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2013

INVERNESS, SCOTLAND - JULY 12:  Phil Mickelson of the United States tees off on the 17th hole during the second round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links on July 12, 2013 in Inverness, Scotland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

One of only a few worldly stars to show up for this weekend’s Scottish Open, Phil Mickelson certainly appears to be benefitting from a tournament that appears to have been hardly valued in golf’s hierarchy.

A bounty of the sport’s biggest names have chosen to abstain from the Scottish Open in Inverness, instead making use of their final week in preparation for the Open Championship in their own way.

That being said, Mickelson is showing just how valuable the past three days have been for his play, familiarising himself with the conditions ahead of next week’s competition.

Currently sitting at the summit of the Scottish Open standings with a score of 14-under par, the world No. 8 has the experience needed to round out a successful weekend at Castle Stuart.

Having not won a major for over three years now, there are those who would doubt Mickelson’s chances at the Open Championship, but the American will challenge for honours as strongly as ever in his career, as he’s shown he’s able to in the last few days.

Earlier this week, World No. 6 Graeme McDowell landed himself in a bit of hot water after criticising Castle Stuart, labelling it as an easycourse.

Since his original comments were made, McDowell has apologised to those he may have offended, as the Daily Mail’s John Mcgreechan has reported.

Although McDowell is the most publicised professional to have spoken against the Scottish competition, it’s clear that a great deal of those participating at the Open Championship feel the same, albeit more quietly.

But should the chance to prepare in conditions as close to Aberdeen’s be lambasted as harshly as McDowell ever thought to in the first place? One would think not given his backtracking, in which he referred to the links course as “a great course.”

Having staged a record sixth runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, Mickelson has as much impetus as ever to post the fifth major title victory of his career next week.

That being said, the American can’t be pulled up for a lack of preparation, the same of which can’t be said for the rest of the Open Championship field.