Els ‘looking foward’ to Castle Stuart

Ernie Els is the latest high profile international golfer to join next week’s stellar field for the Barclays Scottish Open.

Ernie Els is the latest high profile international golfer to join next week’s stellar field for the Barclays Scottish Open, traditionally the curtain-raiser to the Open Championship.

And like everyone in the field who will be playing in this long established tournament on the highly-rated new Castle Stuart Golf Links for the first time, Els is looking forward to the experience.

“I am delighted to be playing the 2011 Barclays Scottish Open. I am really looking forward to seeing the new venue. I have heard good things about the course and it promises to be a great week, “said the 41-year-old South African, a noted course designer who has previously enjoyed much success in Scotland in the past.

He won The Open Championship at Muirfield in 2002 and book ended that Major triumph – his third in total after his two earlier wins in the US Open – with victories in the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond in 2000 and 2003.

The ‘Big Easy’ will come into the event with his classic swing intact, but with a history this season of putting woes.

However, he is hoping that some good hard graft with his flat stick will put him back on track to a third Barclays Scottish Open – a feat achieved only once to date by Ian Woosnam in 1987, 1990 and 1996.

Another win for Els at Castle Stuart will brings his trophy haul on the European Tour to 72.

So far this year he has one Tour victory, this having come in the South African Open Championship which he won for the filth time after an absorbing battle against his old South African adversary, Retief Goosen, Els eventually winning by just one shot.

Els will strengthen an already star-studded field for the tournament’s first staging at Castle Stuart near Inverness.

In total the field boasts ten Major Champions, 25 Ryder Cup players, 99 players who have won on The European Tour and 14 men who have triumphed on the US PGA Tour, partly because unlike the scenic, parkland course at Loch Lomond where the Scottish Open has previously been played, Castle Stuart is a links course that should better prepare all those players who will be going on to the Royal St Georges links to play in the 140th Open Championship a week later

Championship Director Peter Adams said: “We are delighted to welcome Ernie to the Barclays Scottish Open. Ernie is one of the game’s truly global players with his talents recognized the world over but he is always accorded a special welcome in Scotland and I know that this will be the case once again at Castle Stuart.”


Els on Tuesday withdrew from this week’s AT&T National in Pennsylvania with what he has described as a “slight back strain”.

But it is not expected to be serious enough to prevent him from playing in the Scottish Open or the 140th Open in the following week.