July 7, 2016
Double Major-winner Martin Kaymer will be looking to draw on the "local knowledge" of his Scottish-born caddy Craig Connelly when the pair team up for the first time when the Scottish Open starts on Thursday.
The last time Connelly caddied at Castle Stuart, this week's host course near Inverness in northern Scotland, was in 2012 when he was caddying for England’s Paul Casey.
In fact, Casey and Kaymer were drawn together for the opening two rounds of the event along the shores of the Moray Firth.
It was also the last time German golf star Kaymer contested Scotland’s premier European Tour event in finishing just inside the top-30 behind India's Jeev Milkha Singh.
"I figure given Craig has caddied at Castle Stuart before he might provide me with some local knowledge," said Kaymer, who also sees tis event as important preparation for next week's British Open -- the only one of golf's four Majors not staged in the United States -- at Royal Troon, northwest of Glasgow.
"So he's going to be important to me but I'm just looking forward to going back to Castle Stuart and along with the French Open, I see the Scottish Open as great preparation for The Open.
"It's good because you can play those bump-and-run shots you find yourself needing to play when you go to The Open, so Castle Stuart is a great tournament to get a feel for what lies ahead the following week."
Kaymer, the 2010 US PGA and 2014 US Open champion added: "But then I always find it a bit disrespectful to the tournament if we go to the Scottish and all everyone talks about is The Open.
"So in going to Castle Stuart my game will be about 30 to 40 percent preparing for The Open and the rest I am fully focussed on winning a second Scottish Open.
"I won the French and the Scottish Open titles back in 2009 so they are also good memories to have going to this year's Scottish."
Fellow former Scottish Open winner Graeme McDowell will tee-up at Castle Stuart for a first time since 2011 when he shot a second-round 64 to share with lead but in a year the event was reduced to 54 holes after torrential rain saw a number of landslides on the course.
Later the following year, McDowell was drawn into controversy in criticising Castle Stuart for the landslides and electing not to return.
"I haven't been back to Castle Stuart since that 'landslide year' and it was that tough year for sponsors Barclays as we had hurricanes at the Barclays in New York, landslides at the Scottish and then the 54-holes due to monsoon rains in Singapore," McDowell said.
"Castle Stuart is an awesome piece of land and I did have a case of 'foot-in-mouth' a few years back when at the Irish Open I criticised the course and without trying to," the Northern Irishman added.
After missing the cut at the recent French Open, McDowell spent the past weekend playing two practice rounds at Royal Troon, where the 2010 US Open winner made his 'Majors' debut in the 2004 Open.
"The Scottish Open is the second of a five-week stretch for me, but after missing the cut in the French, I need a good, strong showing at Castle Stuart," said McDowell.