London - Rory McIlroy has signed up to play in the Scottish Open in July, hoping that he can follow the example of Phil Mickelson last year who won the tournament and went on the following week to win the British Open.
The two-time major champion admits that watching the American triumph at Castle Stuart Golf Links in 2013 and then go on to win at Muirfield the following week helped make up his mind to return to the event for the first time in five years.
The tournament is moving to the historic Royal Aberdeen Golf Club for the first time from July 10-13 and McIlroy believes that taking on one of the most renowned links courses in Scotland, as part of a strong international field that also includes defending champion Mickelson, will be the perfect preparation ahead of attempting to win his first Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.
"It'll be my first time playing Royal Aberdeen", said McIlroy. "I believe it's a great links with lots of golfing history. I'm really looking forward to the challenge it'll present".
McIlroy's previous Scottish Open campaigns both came at Loch Lomond, in 2008 and 2009.
He added: "To play some competitive golf on a links course will be great preparation for The Open Championship the following week".
"I can think of no better preparation for The Open, especially on a respected course like Royal Aberdeen. There will also be so many similarities I can bring to the following week's Open Championship".
McIlroy has made a confident start to the year, with a joint runner-up finish with Mickelson in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and tied for ninth in last week's Dubai Desert Classic, following on from a winning end to 2013 at the Emirates Australian Open.