Open Championship

Walker enthralled by links

2014-07-08 18:19
Jimmy Walker (AP Photo)

Aberdeen - Three-time PGA Tour winner Jimmy Walker has arrived in Aberdeen for this week's Scottish Open admitting it will be only the third occasion in his career he's tasted links golf.

Walker, 35 is joining four other PGA Tour-based Americans in defending champion Phil Mickelson, Ryan Palmer, Kevin Stadler and Rickie Fowler in the event being played for the first time on the Royal Aberdeen course.

In fact, Fowler is one of just a handful in the field who has previous experience of competing on the links gem having being a member of the losing USA 2011 Walker Cup side.

Walker began the wraparound 2013/14 PGA Tour schedule capturing last October's Open and then commenced the New Year with success in the Sony Open in Hawaii and victory in the AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

And the Oklahoma City born Walker further cemented a debut place in the USA Ryder Cup team with a share of eighth place in the Masters and then a tie for ninth in the recent US Open.

However after missing the cut by a stroke in last year's British Open at Muirfield, Walker is keen to boost his links experience competing in Scotland before heading southwest to next week's British) Open at Royal Liverpool.

"When you play often in the States everything looks very green, very lush and the golf courses they prepare for us each week are second to none," he said.

"But then when you come over here the courses just look so natural.

"We have a couple of golf courses in the States that look like that such as Prairie Dunes in Kansas where the NCAA Championships will be held this year.

"But to come here and see this golf course, and see the ball run as it does, and to experience the different way of thinking about playing golf and getting around the golf course is very different.

"So before coming here I've only played the Renaissance Club where I was staying last year for The Open and Muirfield so they are my only experiences of playing links golf.

"Playing Muirfield last year was all about getting comfortable and hitting certain shots.

"So it was a combination of not putting well and not being able to hit the golf shots I wanted to, and the ball wasn't coming out the way I was seeing and really all I needed was more links practice."

Walker's appearance in the Scottish Open will mean he will miss out on the opportunity to play practice rounds at Gleneagles over his coming weekend.

US Captain Tom Watson revealed last week during the Greenbrier Classic he was hoping upwards of 20 possible and probable team members would make the effort to join him at Gleneagles.

However, and unless Walker missed the Royal Aberdeen halfway cut, he is fully committed to winning the Scottish Open title.

"I had committed to playing here months and months ago, so when Tom called the other day I said I would love to but I have committed myself to this event," he said.

"But then in talking with him it sounds like we are going to arrive at Gleneagles on the Monday before and the matches will not start to Friday, so there will be plenty of time up there.

"I've heard about four or five will be up at Gleneagles,"

Fowler spent Tuesday afternoon joining Sweden's Jonas Blixt playing a round of the nearby Trump Scotland International course.

Read more on:    european tour  |  scottish open  |  golf


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