Luke Donald to defend his Scottish Open title at Castle Stuart July 11 2012

Luke Donald  (Getty Images)

Luke Donald (Getty Images)

      Group       Castle Stuart

                                 Castle Stuart Golf Links clubhouse

Luke Donald, the World Number One ranked golfer will return to Castle Stuart Golf Links to defend his 2011 Barclays Scottish Open title. His is joined by three time Major winner Padraig Harrington along with four time winner Phil Mickelson, who are also making the trip to northern Scotland again this year. Luke won the BMW PGA Championship in his last tournament in Europe at Wentworth, where the weather was glorious and not too dissimilar to the conditions he regularly plays in on the PGA Tour. The weather at the Scottish Open could turn out to be be completely different, as last year proved.

They will all be praying for better weather this year, after rain reduced last year's Scottish Open to a 54-hole tournament.  Torrential thunder storms caused landslides on part of the newly opened course in the Highlands last year, conditions that local residents described as the worst in the region in over half a century.

Padraig Harrington likes to play here before The Open;

"I like to play links golf before I get to the British Open. I think it's a distinctly different form of golf than what we regularly get. I know some people don't like playing the week before a major, but there's no substitute for playing competitive links golf."

The 2010 Open championship winner Louis Oosthuizen said during practice;

" If the weather stays this way, it will be difficult, but links golf should be harsh weather. It should be rainy, It should be windy. Otherwise, it's not the way it should be."

Phil Mickelson  finished runner-up in 2007 when he lost in a playoff to Gregory Havret of France, and  Martin Kaymer, who won the 2009 Scottish Open, is also in the field. Martin took a break before returning to golf at the French Open last week, finishing in 16th place.

Lee Westwood is missing this week, due to the injury he received when slipping last week in Paris.

As always this tournament will be a good test of genuine links golf.