This week is the first year the Genesis Scottish Open is a co-sanctioned event between the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour. The tournament will be played at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick, Scotland, as a par 71, measuring 7,293 yards and putt on fescue-based greens.
Serving as the preamble to the 150th Open Championship, the Scottish Open boasts a fantastic field featuring 14 of the top 15 ranked golfers like Jon Rahm ($11,000), Justin Thomas ($10,600), Collin Morikawa ($9,400) and Viktor Hovland ($8,800). But wait, there’s more! Jordan Spieth ($8,900), Sam Burns ($9,200), Cameron Smith ($9,100), Sungjae Im ($8,700), Xander Shauffele ($9,900), Patrick Cantlay ($9,600) and Cameron Young ($8,100) have all decided to play, making this a very strong event.
The Renaissance Club isn’t as historic as St. Andrews or Muirfield, but this will be the fourth year the course will host the tournament, providing some precedent on how it will play. We know from previous events that it can play reasonably straightforward if the weather permits. In 2019, Bernd Wiesberger shot 22-under par, beating Benjamin Hebert in a playoff. The conditions were a bit worse in 2020, with Aaron Rai winning at 11-under par, and last season, Min Woo Lee ($7,300) took home the trophy at 18-under, beating 2022 U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick ($10,000) and Thomas Detry ($7,100) in a playoff.
The course features all the tenants of a links-style layout, with deep bunkering and thick rough, but the course’s primary defense is the weather, which looks windy this week. Even with inclement winds off the water or wet conditions, a potent mixture of ball-striking and experience on the DP World Tour has proven to be paramount to success. Of course, golfers who are strong tee-to-green should also do well. Over the previous three years, the winners ranked inside the top four en route to their wins.
It’ll be tempting to play more DP World Tour golfers this week, but with the strongest field the event has seen, a prudent strategy is to rely on the golfers who’ve played well on the PGA TOUR and rank high in OWGR in comparison to their peers in similar price ranges. You don’t have to fade the DP World Tour golfers completely; Lee and Detry finished 1-2 last year. Still, with the influx of top talent at this year’s event, the cream should rise to the top. Last season, only three of the top 10 played predominantly on the DP World Tour.
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,000)
On the surface, Matsuyama doesn’t feel like a fit on links-style courses, but he has finishes of 14th (2017), 18th (2015) and sixth (2013) at The Open Championship. This season, he’s also been fantastic tee to green. Since the Sony Open, Matsuyama’s been inside the top 15 in strokes gained tee-to-green four times, twice inside the top five (Sony Open, Byron Nelson). Matsuyama also shot the low round (65) on Sunday at the U.S. Open and was top four tee-to-green at The Country Club in Brookline, MA.
Ryan Fox ($8,500)
Fox has already put together a fantastic DP World Tour season, with a top-three, two runner-up finishes (in his previous four events) and a win earlier this year at The Ras Al Khaimah Classic, shooting 22-under par. Two made cuts at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, and he ranks third in tee-to-green on the DP World Tour, gaining almost two strokes per round. He’s also top three in putts per green in regulation and second in scoring this season. Be prepared to eat the chalk because Fox will be popular. Aaron Rai ($7,400) fits the mold of golfers who have experience playing well in Europe and also playing competitively on the PGA TOUR. Rai won this event in 2020 when the conditions were harsh and has finishes of 13th (RBC Candian Open) and 26th (Memorial) in his previous three starts on the PGA TOUR.
Jordan Smith ($7,300)
Like Fox, Smith has been playing fantastic golf on the DP World Tour, with no worse than a T24 in his five previous starts. He’s missed one cut in his last 15 starts and has two runner-up finishes over the same timeframe. Sixth in scoring average this season comes from his ability tee-to-green, ranking fourth over his previous 50 rounds. He just needs a reasonable putting week.
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