LUSS, Scotland – Fans wanting to see the future of European golf could be forgiven for thinking they need to be here at Loch Lomond for the Barclays Scottish Open.
They’d be mistaken.
The crème de la crème of Europe is indeed on display at Loch Lomond. Pablo Martin, Alex Noren, Danny Willett, Rafael Carbrera-Bello, James Morrison, Rhys Davies, Sam Hutsby, Alejandro Canizares and other young hotshots are in field for the Scottish Open. That’s a pretty good backbone for future European Ryder Cup teams.
Right behind them are a bunch of young guys competing this week in the European Amateur Team Championship in Sweden just bursting to get to the European Tour.
The European Amateur Team Championship is another in a long line of amateur tournaments that gets lost in the plethora of amateur golf played in Europe. Pity, because this is the place to look to see Europe’s stars of the future.
This event dates to 1959, when Sweden won the inaugural tournament. It was a biennial event until 2007, but now is played annually.
Scotland was crowned European champion last year, finishing ahead of England and Italy. British teams have won this event more than Continental European sides. England, for example, has won the event nine times since debuting in 1961.
Scotland’s victory last year was its sixth in tournament history. Ireland has won it a similar number of times. Besides these nations and Sweden, Wales, Spain and Italy also have won.
This year’s tournament is being played at Österåkers Golf Club in eastern Sweden. This follows in a long line of European destinations over the years, everywhere from Czechoslovakia to the United Kingdom, from Spain to Germany.
On show among the 20 six-man teams is list of players that would make any future European Ryder Cup captain drool. Scotland’s James Byrne, Pedro Figueiredo (Portugal), Andrea Pavan (Italy), Tom Lewis (England), Victor Dubuisson (France), Rhys Enoch (Wales), Morten Orum Madsen (Denmark), Sean Einhaus (Germany), Jesper Kennegard (Sweden) and Paul Cutler (Ireland) are among the names that stand out.
Two rounds of qualifying determine which teams make it through to match play, with a winner being crowned July 10.