LINKS STYLE GOLF LADSSSSSSS
The PGA Tour is off to Scotland for… you guessed it, the Scottish Open. This tournament was played for years strictly as a European Tour event that served for many as a tune-up for the next week's Open Championship. Tons of American players would make the jump across the pond to acclimate themselves to the jet lag and the links style conditions that they'd face soon in a major championship setting. So much so that the field at the Scottish Open was miles better (as evidenced by the leaderboard below) than whatever tournament it was going up against stateside (often the John Deere).
This, along with the threat of LIV, inspired the PGA Tour and European Tour to put their heads together and decide to run this tournament as partners starting last year. So, now the PGA Tour has a piece of the pie and the Scottish Open has a new, more lucrative sponsor. Which is just brilliant. I think the PGA Tour should spend more time over in Europe before the Open, much like tennis has a "clay court" season leading up to the French Open. Add the Irish Open to the PGA Tour and then you've really got a stew goin.
Last year Xander Schauffele edged out Kurt Kitayama by a single stroke. Schauffele came into Sunday with a 2-shot lead after a 65 and 66 on Friday and Saturday, and then extended that lead to 4 by birdieing the first two holes. But Kitayama was able to jump ahead just past the turn, taking a 1-stroke lead early on the back 9 but missed a key 6-foot par putt on 17. Meanwhile X was able to make a couple birdies on the back and managed to make a huge 8-foot par putt on 17, which proved to be the difference. It proved to be Xander's 2nd straight PGA Tour win, which had him as a popular pick in the next week's Open, where he finished T-15.
Last year's leaderboard and recent winners…
This is the 5th consecutive year that the Scottish Open has been played at the Renaissance Club. Despite being founded in 2008 and designed by Americans (who hatched the idea two decades ago at Pinehurst), this course screams links golf. It's located next door to Muirfield and is right down the street from the Old Course too.
When we talk about links golf, we're talking about wide open spaces, high fescue, and TONS of slopes. We're playing this course as a par 70 this week with a little bit of a different routing than the members play it, and the course is not particularly long at 7,293 yards (I've been getting some contradictory info between the DP World website and the PGA Tour website, but it seems this is the case).
Like with any links style course, the way this course plays is going to be heavily dictated by the weather. Given this course's proximity to the water (the Firth of Forth), there's often tons of wind that comes off the shore and across the property. But the weather hasn't exactly shown its teeth in the 4 years the Club hosted, as last year was the first year the winning score wasn't double digits under par. But there's potential for things to go sideways (literally) and that's what I hope to see out there this week. I want to see these guys have to get creative and shape some shots against the wind out there and deal with some harsh conditions.
Also this place is fuckin gorgeous. I mean these views are insane. This video highlighting every hole is basically 14 minutes of golf links porn.
Best Hole - Hole 13, 418 Yard Par 4
Dogleg left along the Firth of Forth. I love saying that. Firth of Forth.
Nothing too complicated about this hole. Don't miss left or you're fucked. Deep in the dunes. Or the Firth of Forth. Either or.
Other than that it's pretty simple and not terribly long. Beautiful green has its slopes but nothing too crazy about it. Should see some buckets here.
Oh ya. We're gonna get a little spicy on Sunday. Love to see it. Those temps in Fahrenheit are ranging from the low 50's to the low 60's by the way. Sweaters, hoodies, QZ's galore.
Morning golf babayyyyyy
Love the time zone shift come Open szn. Golf is on whether you're up and at em early or if you sleep in. CBS will be weird on the weekend though. I don't think I want American voices calling the Scottish Open, even if it is Nantz. Gimme the full European Tour experience plz.
Eh, it's fine. It's an old, classic trophy so you wouldn't imagine it would be too flashy… but there's also not much to write home about here. It's a middle of the road 5/10.
World #1 Scottie Scheffler is your favorite at +700 at the Barstool Sportsbook. Scottie actually missed the cut here last year, a rarity for him. Dude hasn't missed a cut since last August, and only one of those missed cuts resulted in him finishing worse than T-13. That's a 21 event stretch where he has finished Top 13 in 20 of 21 events. Absurd stuff.
With that said, he's only won twice in that stretch. His Open Championship record isn't particularly strong all things considered, so I feel comfortable leaving him off the board this week. I am on Tyrell Hatton +1800 this week and +3300 next week at The Open. He's long been a supreme links player having won multiple Alfred Dunhill Links Championships and has had himself a very strong 12 months since last year's Scottish, including only 1 missed cut. He finished 24th here last year and has a couple other Top 15 finishes at Renaissance. He hasn't won during this elongated heater he's been on, but this is the type of place that plays to his strengths.
Tommy Fleetwood To Win +2200/Top 10 +250 - He's been sniffing around it in the US and this ain't that. Still would count for a 1st PGA Tour win though. Lost in a playoff to Aaron Rai here in 2020.
Min Woo Lee +3300 To Win - Won this in 2021 against a similarly talented field and has had some strong finishes the past month, including that T-5 at LACC.
Justin Thomas To Win +5000/Top 20 +185 - JT is kinda the latest top tier guy to have lost his way and there's not really signs of a one-week turnaround… but hard to lay off this price.
Kurt Kitayama To Win +10000/Top 10 +750 - Runner-up last year has truly been boom or bust this year. Obviously won API, but has mixed some other top 10's in there around a flood of missed cuts.
Robbie MacIntyre To Win +10000/Top 10 +750 - I've always been a big fan of the young Scottish lefty. Coming off a T-4 last week on the DPWT.
Danny Willett To Win +40000 - Sure why not.
Haotong Li Top 40 +800 - This guy really fell off the map huh? 1000/1 to win this week too.
That's what I got this week. Enjoy the Scottish Open.