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Scottish venue helps Padraig

Hallelujah! This year's Scottish Open will be played on a links course, solving a perennial problem for Padraig Harrington.

In recent years, Harrington has had to go elsewhere looking for seaside golf the week before the British Open as the Scottish flagship was firmly embedded at Loch Lomond.

Yet next summer it will be played at the new links at Castle Stuart between Inverness and Nairn on the Moray Firth -- and, yes, Harrington has already committed to the tournament, as has Graeme McDowell, Scottish Open winner in 2008.

Meanwhile, Harrington's disqualification in Abu Dhabi last week stymied a likely battle royal with Martin Kaymer. Kaymer, Lee Westwood, McDowell, Rory McIlroy et al take a break this week, but Harrington has another chance to put his remodelled swing and putting routine to the test at the inaugural Volvo Champions in Bahrain, where he's joined by Darren Clarke, Damien McGrane, Peter Lawrie and Michael Hoey.

Irish Independent