Genesis Scottish Open

Genesis Scottish Open

Genesis Scottish Open

It was a great week for us at the John Deere Classic as we bagged the winner with our 25/1 pick Davis Thompson.

A former world amateur number one Thompson has long been touted as a superstar of the future and after three previous runner up finishes on tour including the week before in Detroit he came good in the Quad Cities.

Starting Sunday in poll position with a two shot lead if Thompson had stalled he would have quickly been swallowed up in an event, which had turned in to a shoot out. A 44ft birdie putt at the first though set the tone for the day and after making four more birdies over the next five holes all the Georgia Bulldog had to do was nurse the lead home for his maiden tour title.

So onwards we go in great spirits and with a just a week to go to the final Major of the season, The Open Championship, it is time for the PGA Tour and DP World Tour’s cross Atlantic ‘strategic alliance’ to kick in to gear with both this week’s Scottish Open and newly names ISCOS championship In Kentucky co sanctioned events.

The ‘alliance’, which, launched in 2022 in the face of the threat posed by LIV Golf, gives an opportunity for several of the DP World Tour’s rank and file to dream of having that one special week that allows them to lock up a PGA Tour card and all the riches that come with it both in Scotland and over in Kentucky.

Meanwhile for PGA Tour members with valuable Fedex Cup points on offer as well as a place in the Open for those not already exempt, there are plenty of reasons to make the trip over to Scotland.

The event will be played for the sixth year running at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick only ten minutes or so away from Muirfield.

Not unsurprisingly we have a stellar field on display although world number one Scottie Scheffler has chosen to sit the week out, meaning defending champion Rory McIlroy heads up the market as he returns for the first time since the US Open.

McIlroy is then followed by another former champion here Xander Schauffele. This duo are then followed by Collin Morikawa, Ludvig Aberg and Viktor Hovland.



The Renaissance Club is a par 71 measuring just under 7300 yds

The greens are fescue based comparable to those used at Royal Birkdale.

Unusually for a par 71 the course features four par fives and five par three’s.

The course, which was originally designed by Tom Doak opened for play in 2008.

All though manufactured the aim was naturally to create an authentic links test with deep bunkering and thick rough however if the weather co-operates the players have not found the course too tough to get to grips with.



With the event having now had five outings on at this venue let’s firstly take a look at those editions and the top ten finishers in each;


2023 – 1 R McIlroy, R McIntyre, T3 S Scheffer, B An, D Lingmerth, T6 JT Poston, N Hojgaard, T Kim, T Fleetwood, T Hatton.

2022 – 1 X Schauffele, 2 K Kitayama, 3 T Kim, T4 P Cantlay & T Fleetwood, T6 J Donaldson, M Fitzpatrick, C Tringale B Wu. T10 D Burmester, T Detry, R Hojgaard, A Smalley, C Smith & J Spieth.

2021 – 1- M W Lee [Playoff] 2 – M Fitzpatrick, T Detry, 4 L Herbert, I Poulter, R Palmer, 7 – J Rahm, 8 J Veerman & J Thomas, 10 – J Senior & X Schauffele.

2020 – 1 – A Rai [Playoff] 2 – T Fleetwood, 3 – R Rock, 4 M Warren & L Herbert, 6 – M Kinhult, E an Rooyen, I Poulter, 9 – K Sammoja, M Southgate, P Harrington, V Dubuisson & E Pepperell.

2019 – 1 - B Wiesberger [Playoff] B Hebert, 3 – R Langasque, 4 – N Bertasio, A Johnston, A Pavan, A Putnam, H Stenson, 9 R Cabrera-Bello, G Coetzee, J Donaldson, L Slattery, J Thomas.


The first thing to note here is that with the caveat that with the cancellation of The Open in 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the four editions played prior to the Open at Renaissance have seen to a certain extent the pattern we often see of slightly lesser names winning the week before a Major. As a reminder of this below you’ll see a list of the winners of PGA Tour events the week before a Major going back to 2018.


2023 – Memorial [Pre US Open]                     S Scheffler

2024 – Wells Fargo Champ [Pre PGA]            R McIlroy

2024 – Valero Texas Open [Pre Masters]       A Bhatia

2023 – Genesis Scottish Open [Pre Open]      R McIlroy

2023 – RBC Canadian Open [Pre US Open]     N Taylor.

2023 – Byron Nelson [Pre PGA]                      J Day

2023 – Valero Texas Open [Pre Masters]       C Conners

2022 – Scottish Open [Pre Open]                   X Schauffele

2022 – RBC Canadian Open [Pre US Open]     R McIlroy.

2022 – AT&T Byron Nelson [Pre – PGA]         KH Lee

2022 – Valero Texas Open [Pre Masters]       JJ Spaun

2021 – John Deere Classic [Pre Open]            L Glover

2021 – Scottish Open [Pre Open]                   M W Lee

2021 – Palmetto Champ [Pre US Open]         G Higgo

2021 – Byron Nelson [Pre – PGA]                   KH Lee

2021 – Valero Texas Open [Pre- Masters]      Jordan Spieth

2020 – Houston Open [Pre- Masters]             Carlos Ortiz

2020 – Safeway Open [Pre- US Open]            Stewart Cink

2020 – WGC – Fedex St Jude [Pre-USPGA]     Justin Thomas

2019 – John Deere Classic [Pre-Open]           Dylan Fritelli

2019 – Canadian Open [Pre- US Open]          Rory McIlroy

2019 – Byron Nelson [Pre- PGA]                     Sung Kang

2019 – Valero Texas Open [Pre Masters]       Corey Conners

2018 – WGC Bridgestone Inv [Pre- PGA]        Justin Thomas

2018 – John Deere Classic [Pre Open]            Michael Kim

2018 – WGC Fedex St Jude [Pre- Open]         Dustin Johnson

2018 – Houston Open [Pre- Masters]            Ian Poulter


That said this stat has certainly become less notable over the past year as the PGA Tour have implemented a schedule, which has seen their signature events twice taking place the week before a Major and inevitably then the trophies have gone to the games bigger names. In addition one of these, the Wells Fargo was won by Rory McIlroy who is very much an exception to the rule in that as he also showed at last years Scottish Open he has a strong history of winning the week before a Major.

Otherwise though going back through 2022 and beyond if we exclude the three WGC’s where again you would always expect a bigger name to be focused on bagging the trophy only three of them, the 2021 Valero Texas Open and the RBC Canadian Open have been won by big names, Jordan Spieth and the aforementioned McIlroy twice in Canada, and in Spieth’s case, similarly to Day in 2023, having been winless for so long he was clearly 100% focused. With the remaining events though having been won by ‘lesser names’ it is clear that in general it makes sense to swerve the marquee names when they tee it up the week before a Major as they will most likely be using the event as a tune up.

Prior to McIlroy last year and Schauffele’s win in 2022 this is a pattern that has been rubber stamped in this event over the years with Rickie Fowler back in 2015 arguably the last previous winner who was seen as one of the main contenders for the Open.

Looking at form coming in to the week and both the 2019 and 2020 winners Wiesberger and Rai had telegraphed their victories here by finishing runner up in Ireland the week before while Min Woo Lee had played solidly to finish 17th in Ireland the previous week. Schauffele meanwhile had of course triumphed in his previous start at the Travelers. Meanwhile to come right up to date McIlroy had six straight top ten finishes prior to arriving here last year including the runner up in the US Open so clearly his game was in great shape.

Finally in relation to course form while we only have five years to go on Lee and Rai had played solidly on the track the year before to finish 30th and ninth respectively, while Schauffele had been tenth here the year before. McIlroy of course as a world class act is capable of winning anywhere, however his two previous visits here prior to last year had seen him miss the cut and finish 34th.

Scoring here is needless to say very much dictated by the weather conditions with the 2020 edition, which was played later in the year in tougher conditions seeing Rai post 11- under while the 2019 and 2021  editions have seen 18- under and 22- under totals posted by the eventual winner. In 2022 however tough conditions were in play and Schauffele ground out a win with a 7- under total, while last year McIlroy triumphed with 15- under.



With wind being the courses main protection the first thing to note is that Mother Nature does not look set to playa huge part on that front this week with nothing much more than 10-15mph forecast across the four days.

Temperatures look set to sit around the mid 60s with a mix of sunshine and showers forecast across the week. All in all then I expect scoring conditions to be favourable.

As I always say though this could all change!



I have gone with five players this week as follows;


TOM KIM –22/1 – 2.5pts e/w – 1/5 odds 1st 8. - FINISHED 15th

I will start things off this week with Tom Kim.

The young Korean had struggled through the early stages of 2024 managing no top tens all year up to the end of May. All of this changed though in Canada as he bounced back to form with a fourth place finish and after a 26th place at the US Open he followed this up with a runner up finish at the signature event at the Travelers, losing out to Scottie Scheffler in a play off.

Tom then went on to play at the Rocket Mortgage Classic the following week, however perhaps not unsurprisingly as he was making his ninth in start in a row he ran out of steam and missed the cut.

After I am sure what was a very welcome week off then Tom now returns to the North East Coast of Scotland and to a venue where he has made waves before finishing third and sixth on his two previous visits. Let’s not also forget Tom went on to finish runner up at the Open last year the following week so clearly he is very comfortable in links conditions. It’s also worth flagging up that apart from an out of the blue eighth at the US Open a few weeks before this event last year, Kim’s form had been very patchy in the lead up to this fortnight as he had not posted another solo top 20 since the Masters.

Since arriving on the PGA Tour the strength of Tom’s game has been his approach play however after ranking tenth in this department last season he has dropped off considerably this year ranking 73rd at the moment. Noticeably though his iron play has picked up as he has returned to form and he ranked third in approach play at the Travelers, while also ranking first in good old fashioned GIR and Driving Accuracy.

In his short time to date on tour Tom has shown us that he is prone to performing well at the same courses as on top of his two top tens in two visits here he defended his trophy at the Shriners last Fall. Following his recent upturn in form then I’ll happily take him to have another great week here.


WYNDHAM CLARK – 50 /1 – 1.5pts E/W – 1/5 odds 1st 8 - FINISHED 10th

Next up I will side with Wyndham Clark.

I have long felt that Clark has the tools for links golf and he first showed glimpses of this way back in 2019 when he was right in the hunt at the Honda Classic before ultimately finishing seventh. The significance being that this is an event, which has been won by many an Open champion over the years including no less than Todd Hamilton as well as the likes of Els and Harrington.

Since then, while not a true links test of course Wyndham has finished runner up by the coast in Bermuda. More recently then he won the weather shortened Signature Event at Pebble Beach and then finished third at Hilton Head a few weeks later. All of this tells us then the former US Open Champion is hugely comfortable by the sea and when the wind is a factor.

Its fair to say 2024 has been an up and down year for Clark. He has the victory at Pebble Beach and runner up finishes at the Players and Bay Hill to his name along with third at Hilton Head, however he has missed the cut at two of three Majors while only managing 56th place at the US Open on defence of his trophy. A hugely frustrating return for him in the games biggest events then I am sure, and it may be that he put too much pressure on himself to follow up his success at LA CC. It was interesting to see then that perhaps with the pressure off following the end of his 12 months as US Open champion he came out at the Travelers the week after and finished ninth, ranking 11th for the week in approach play and seventh in putting.

Rested now since the Travelers Clark returns here for the third time and in keeping with my thought that he is well suited to this test we can draw a lot of encouragement from his 16th place here on debut in 2022, particularly as bar a seventh place in Canada a few weeks prior that, this was his best finish since a 13th at the Amex in January in what had been a tough year for him to that point. Meanwhile last year he played solidly to finish 25th, however I am inclined to put that finish to one side as bar playing at the Travelers the week after the US Open it was his first start since that life changing week in LA.

With positive vibes from the Travelers then and returning here for his third start in the event I expect Wyndham to be 100% focused on putting in a big performance and he looks great value at the odds to show his pedigree for this type of layout again.


TOM MCKIBBIN – 70 /1 - 1pt E/W – 1/5 odds 1st 8 - FINISHED MC

Next up here for me is Tom McKibbin.

Since bursting on to the DP World Tour McKibbin has gone from strength to strength and there is no doubt that he a superstar in the golfing world in the making.

After starting his maiden season on the DP World Tour last year solidly Tom landed his first trophy at the Porsche European Open. He then went on to play the weekend on ten of 14 starts for the rest of the year with one of his best efforts notably coming in the Dunhill Links where he was 14th. In addition he was 35th here on debut.

On to this year then and while Tom is yet to add to his maiden win he has produced one strong performance after another, with six top tens to his name already. Furthermore a debut Major start at the US Open saw him produce a hugely credible 41st place.

Hailing from Northern Ireland and having been brought up playing at Holywood GC, the home of Rory McIlroy, McKibbin’s ability to handle links conditions should certainly not be in any doubt and as well as his strong performance in the Dunhill Links last year we can take encouragement from his fourth place finish in Qatar this year, an event long known as a good pointer for strong links pedigree.

A look at the 21yr olds stats on the DP World Tour this season shows us that he is performing strongly in all areas, ranking 11th in accuracy off the tee, eighth in greens and 31st with the flat stick. Add that to his three straight top tens in regular DP World Tour events with a second place last time out in Italy and he is clearly a player to have on side at the moment.


RYAN FOX –  80/1 –1pt E/W - 1/5 odds 1st 8 - FINISHED 57th

Next cab off the rank is Ryan Fox.

Having earned his PGA Tour card for 2024 Fox has been plying his trade Stateside this year. After a sluggish start to the year things have notably picked up for Ryan more recently as he followed a fourth place at the Myrtle Beach Classic with a seventh in Canada three weeks later.

This uptick in form then has seen Fox creep in to the top 125 of the Fedex Cup standings and a couple of big weeks could yet see him make the play offs.

In addition to the change in lifestyle brought by the move to the US this year is no doubt a learning curve for Fox as he is teeing it up week in week out on courses he will not have seen before and potentially playing very different style set ups to what he has been used to over the years on the DP World Tour. It is to his credit then that he has put himself in a solid position to retain his card.

Returning now though to Europe and to a type of golf he is undoubtedly far more comfortable with there is every reason to think Ryan may pick up further and his 15th place in Germany last week bodes well on this front. With this week and next counting to his PGA Fedex standing he will see this as big opportunity.

Renowned for his strong links pedigree Fox has wins at the Dunhill Links to his name as well as a play off loss at the Irish Open, so although he is yet to really shine here, this should certainly be a test that is right up his alley. In addition we can take encouragement from the fact that he produced his best effort here to date last year when 12th.

I expect the New Zealander to step up this next fortnight and this week presents a perfect chance for the four time DP World Tour winner to challenge for title number five.


RASMUS HOJGAARD –  90/1 –1pt E/W - 1/5 odds 1st 8 - FINISHED 21st

Finally I shall wrap things up this week by chancing Rasmus Hojgaard.

While Nicolai is now a fully fledged PGA Tour member Rasmus agonisingly just missed out on a PGA Tour card for2024. Credit to the young Dane though this didn’t seem to deter him and he started 2024 with five straight top 11 finishes.

After withdrawing from the Hero Indian Open at the back end of March though Rasmus lost his way for a couple of months as he went back and forth from the US.

Of late though the signs are far more positive as he followed up a 20th place in the Scandinavian Mixed with a fourth last time out in the KLM Open, his best finish since February.

Looking at Rasmus’ record here and we can take encouragement from his tenth place in 2022, while last years missed cut came the week after he had won on home soil at the Made In Himmerland so it is no surprise he suffered a mental let down in his next start.

Once Rasmus finds his form he has shown us that he can string several good weeks together on the spin, something he did out in the Middle East at the start of this year, and I can see him following up his top five at the KLM with another big week.