The PGA Tour looks very difficult to handicap for a second straight weekend, but for very different reasons. The John Deere Classic had a watered-down field that featured nobody in the top 50 of the OWGR, but the Genesis Scottish Open is set to have 14 of the top 15 golfers in the world aside from Rory McIlroy.
Another reason the Scottish Open will be interesting to project is because this is the first year that it is a PGA Tour Event, co-sanctioned with the DP World Tour. The Scottish Open has always been played a week before the Open and has been held at the Renaissance in North Berwick, so there is some course history to play off of.
Some big names have won this in the past, such as Phil Mickelson (2013), Justin Rose (2014), and Rickie Fowler (2015), but recently it’s been the likes of Bernd Wiesberger (2019) and Aaron Rai (2020) taking home the top honors.
Min Woo Lee won the 2021 event in a playoff against Thomas Detry and Matt Fitzpatrick – the latter who is fresh off a U.S. Open and will be a popular play at 18/1 for the weekend.
The Renaissance Club at North Berwick
This is a modern Scottish links course – some call it American links – so it won’t be as tough as players will see next week at St. Andrews. That being said, due to its juxtaposition on the North Sea shoreline, wind gusts are going to be a concern, and conditions can switch every day and hour.
Winds are expected to reach 20 MPH basically all weekend with temperatures in the 50s. The conditions could give an advantage to those who fared well in the Horizon Irish Open last week, like winner Adrian Meronk (65/1), runner-up Ryan Fox (45/1), or third-place finisher Thriston Lawrence (250/1).
Another thing to note is that although ball striking and iron accuracy are usually the best key metrics on links courses, in the 2021 event, Lee, Detry, and Fitzpatrick all entered the week in the top 30 in driving distance. That kind of shows how the Renaissance Club plays.
The Scottish Open Field
This is definitely the most star-studded Scottish Open in history – or at least the one with as many top 15 OWGR ranked golfers ever. Jon Rahm (11/1), Justin Thomas (12/1), and Scottie Scheffler (12/1) are the top favorites as they are every time they tee it up, but Xander Schauffele (18/1) and Fitzpatrick (18/1) have big wins recently and carry momentum into this tournament.
This also serves as a bragging rights type of event, with the PGA Tour guys having an edge in skill set but DP World Tour players more familiar with the course and conditions. Can Fox, Detry, Rai, or even the hometown heroes like Robert MacIntyre (80/1) or Richie Ramsay (175/1) win one for Tour and country? All in all, we should be in for an exciting tournament!