Aberdeen’s Open champion Paul Lawrie is hoping to watch another Scot challenge for golf’s oldest Major at Carnoustie.
And of the five home hopes in the field – Russell Knox, Grant Forrest, Sandy Lyle, Scott Jamieson and Lawrie-mentored Stonehaven amateur Sam Locke – the 1999 winner is backing Knox to be high up the leaderboard.
The world number 49’s form appears to be peaking at the right time after he won the Irish Open two weeks ago at Ballyliffin, following it up with a couple of good rounds at the Scottish Open at Gullane over the weekend.
However, Lawrie, 49, who pulled out of a return to the scene of his famous triumph as he continues to fight a foot problem which has plagued him for seven years, doesn’t think the fearsome Angus links will suit Scottish players any more than the rest.
He said: “I don’t think it matters whether the weather’s nasty or if it’s good (for who wins).
“These guys are the best and can adapt their games to any conditions, any course, any set-up.
“I don’t think it favours home players or away players.
“Russell Knox is our best player at the moment in the world rankings, so hopefully there will be a Scot up there.”
US-based Knox looks a likely member of the Ryder Cup team later in the year, such is his form.
Lawrie’s foot problem – which he says gives him no control over his left foot when he’s swinging – started just before he played for Europe in the Miracle at Medinah in 2012.
The Aberdonian, who is also struggling with a herniated disk in his back, is resting up ahead of becoming eligible for the over-50s seniors tour in January and doesn’t plan to hit any golf balls for at least another couple of months.
He then intends to seek specialist treatment if his injuries don’t improve.
However, Lawrie did manage to get a sneak peek at Carnoustie ahead of the world’s best golfers descending on it this week, and he’s predicting low scoring.
Lawrie said: “I was down with (his sponsor) Loch Lomond Whisky doing a couple of days’ filming.
“There wasn’t an awful lot of rough and it looked quite sparse.
“They obviously still had a few weeks where it might grow a little bit.
“But the course looked magnificent.
“It’ll be pretty hard and firm, but the forecast is good for the week I hear.
“So if the course stays the way it is just now and the forecast stays the same, scoring will be pretty good round there.
“That’s what links courses are. If there’s no wind and it’s in good nick, these guys are the best in the world, scoring will be low.
“But if the wind picks up a little bit and there’s a bit more rough, it’ll be a different story.”
Lawrie will also be at Carnoustie during the Championship working in the Loch Lomond tent and performing media duties.
Locke, 19, deservedly made his way into this week’s Open field after winning final qualifying at the Renaissance Club in East Lothian.
The amateur, who works in the coffee shop at the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre at South Deeside Road, is mentored by Lawrie and has been developed at the centre.
Lawrie described Scottish Amateur champion Locke as the amateur “all the Scottish boys are trying to chase and beat” at the moment, adding he’s “talented, works hard and wants to play at the highest level of the game”.