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Rob Lee says players should treat Majors like normal golf events

Rob Lee Posted 10th July 2013 view comments

Tiger Woods doesn't often play golf the week before a Major and that routine has worked extremely well for him over the years, as his 14 'big ones' will testify.

But I sometimes feel that other players should treat Majors like every other tournament and not think: 'This is the biggie, I have to prepare differently for it in order to put in a good performance'.

Oosthuizen: the South African is playing in this week's John Deere Classic

Oosthuizen: the South African is playing in this week's John Deere Classic

If they placed less importance on Majors, they might be able to relax and do better in them and that is what I think guys like Louis Oosthuizen and Keegan Bradley are doing this week by taking part in the John Deere Classic in Illinois.

You'd initially think that playing in America until Sunday when the Open Championship is on Thursday would be far from ideal, but if they are happy doing that - as keen farmer Oosthuizen will be in Silvis - and it fits into their plan, they are likely to play better the following week.

If Castle Stuart plays firm, it will be great links practice ahead of the Open Championship.

Rob Lee
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US Open champion Justin Rose is one of the notable absentees from the Scottish Open and John Deere Classic, though, and I wonder how he will be affected by the fact it will be three and a half weeks since he last played competitive golf when he tees off at Muirfield.

It seems too long of a gap to me but as Rose is now a Major winner, it is hard to argue with his schedule - and I still reckon he will be one of the guys to watch at the Open Championship.

Breeze

Castle Stuart, the venue for the Scottish Open, does not mirror Muirfield but if it is playing firm, like it is supposed to be, then playing off hard turf will be great links practice for the Open Championship contingent.

Playing with a breeze will also help the players, so while Castle Stuart will not be as brain-busting to get around as Muirfield, it will be a good precursor for the stiffer test that lies ahead next week.

Therefore, if Phil Mickelson has a good tournament he might bounce onto Muirfield and fancy his chances and he would desperately love to win an Open Championship as he pursues the career Grand Slam.

Home players Marc Warren and Stephen Gallacher will also feature in both the Scottish Open and the Open Championship and while you'd get long odds on them winning the latter, I think they could do well in the former.

Warren should have won the Scottish Open last year - he melted on the the closing stretch and allowed Jeev Milkha Singh to pick up the pieces - so he will feel like he has unfinished business, while Gallacher could have a shot if he has a solid putting week because he is a talented ball-striker.

Backfired

I tipped Pablo Larrazabal to win last week's Alstom Open de France - and that backfired spectacularly with the Spaniard shooting 80 on day one, 77 on day two and missing the cut on 15-over-par.

Pablo had been featuring on many leaderboards and a win seemed around the corner yet things went completely the other way - but Le Golf National can do that to you; a couple of poor shots on the wrong holes can result in triple bogeys and then you can't come back.

Graeme McDowell earned the victory in Paris and his recent run of form - he has either missed the cut (5) or won (3) in his last eight events - is very peculiar and very unlike him because he usually bumbles along and then hits a hot streak.

I'm sure he can't explain it but it is actually better to win or miss the cut than have eight top-tens in a row and it means that Graeme is not going to panic if he has a horrific two days and does not make the weekend of an event.

The Ws have been there and after playing superbly in France he will be right amongst the runners and riders at the Open. I don't think Woods and Rory McIlroy will be, though, but more on that next week...

ROB'S SKY BET TIPS

Paul Casey needs a fantastic performance at the Scottish Open to get into the Open Championship and I think he will get one; he is in confident mood after winning the Irish Open and will enjoy Castle Stuart. He's around 22/1 with Sky Bet.

Scott Stallings, meanwhile, is my man at the John Deere Classic; he was in position to have a pop on the final day at the Greenbrier and even though it didn't come off, he birdied 16, 17 and 18 to finish tied for 23rd. That shows me he is not throwing the towel in and that a win is around the corner. He's great value at 33/1.

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