PGA Tour: Scottish Open Preview and Outright Wagers
PGA TOUR: SCOTTISH OPEN PREVIEW AND OUTRIGHT WAGERS – We took a week off in celebration after writing a myriad of articles recently about Rickie Fowler’s imminent breakthrough victory which came at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit two weeks ago. Now we’re back and looking to keep that momentum going (to be frank, it would’ve been detrimental for my betting card from the John Deere to be made public).
Most of the top players in the world have already made it across the pond and have been taking in the scenic UK, and perhaps enjoying Wimbledon a little too much, looking at you Justin Thomas.
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) July 9, 2023
The Scottish Open is a co-sanctioned event between the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour which means we’re getting the best of both worlds as golf enthusiasts. This is a chance to see some of the elite talent plying their trade internationally, and the cream of the crop from the PGA Tour, as well.
If a player is qualified for the Open Championship being held next week at Royal Liverpool, there’s a good chance they’ll be getting some reps in at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick, Scotland this week.
Scottie Scheffler (+650) is at the top of the board this week, as per usual as he continues his historically good run of ball-striking. You may think to yourself, he hasn’t won recently, and you’d be correct. He also hasn’t finished outside the top-12 in about eight months. So, there’s that. He’s -140 to finish in the top-10 and you could do a lot worse than betting on that and moving on with your life in terms of betting this tournament.
Defending champ, Xander Schauffele (+1400), is the third-choice for odds this week after winning a grueling Scottish Open in 2022 with a score of -7. He’s had a quietly good run lately with a slew of top-10s, but he isn’t sneaking past oddsmakers with those odds.
Of the truly elite PGA Tour players, Jon Rahm is the most notable absence this week as he focuses on next week. Basically everyone else is here aside from the players who are still LIVing it up (Cam Smith won last week in his final tuneup before he defends his major title next week).
The Renaissance Club is relatively new by UK golf standards having been built in 2007. This is the fifth time we’ve seen this course though, so we have a decent idea what to expect.
When you think of golf in Scotland, you think of what we call links-style golf. For those of you who are unfamiliar, I’ll briefly explain. The dominant grass on links courses is fescue. The Renaissance Club is typical of links courses in that it is exclusively fescue grass from the rough all the way down to the greens. Fescue can present issues when it’s left to grow as rough, problems on fairways when its mowed down because it tends to be firmer than typical fairways, and problems on the greens because they typically roll significantly slower than typical Tour-level greens.
The Renaissance Club plays to a par-70 and measures out to around 7,200 yards. In practical terms, it’s a fairly straightforward setup on on paper and isn’t overly long. As such, SG: Off the Tee tends to be less relevant on this course than a typical American PGA event.
Realistically, links-style golf can present some handicapping challenges. The randomizing effects of fairways that are quite firm, in combination with what we can charitably call traditional Scottish weather, can create a wide variety of outcomes no matter how well one strikes the ball.
Creativity on a links course is paramount as players will need to be in control of distance and trajectory for their approach shots. They’ll also need to bring their short game with them because having to recover from deep fescue rough and nasty pot bunkers will be an inevitability.
A note on the weather: it’s probably going to suck. Whenever tournaments are played in Scotland, the biggest obstacle is typically the weather. Right now, the highs are going to be in the low-60s Fahrenheit. It’s looking like a good chance of rain on Friday and Saturday, and then a strong wind on Sunday to blow away the rain and present a new challenge for players on the final day.
Putting it all together
After everything I’ve said about this course and style of play, it’s time to figure out who we actually want to bet this week. For me, it’s a pretty slim betting card and I’ve narrowed it down to two guys.
Adam Scott (+5500) is a guy who is a good fit for links golf and typically catches my eye for these events. I tend to value experience more than most on these types of courses and Scott surely has that. He notched a victory in Scotland about twenty years ago on 2002, so he has been around this type of golf for a long time. In his last six starts, he’s notched three top-10 finishes and another top-20. He’s been playing some sneaky good golf. The Open Championship has been a place where he’s typically played well, and I want guys who aren’t afraid of dealing with the weather and navigating a unique golf course that most of the Americans in the field won’t be as familiar with.
Scott’s iron game has been unusually erratic, but his putting might be the best of his career right now. At some point, the iron game will come around, and when it does, he’ll be in the hunt for a victory.
My other bet for the week isn’t really very creative and I’m sure he’ll find his way onto a bunch of cards this week. I’m all over Shane Lowry (+3500). Now, the man has done me dirty a number of times this season when I’ve thought he was ready to pop up and win because the putter has been horrific for most of the season. The positive news is that he’s gained strokes on the greens in his last two starts, both of which resulted in top-20 finishes. He feels like a player who is very close to putting it all together. There are few players in the world who relish playing in bad weather more than Lowry and he’s always a threat when the final score is closer to even par. Last year, Schauffele won shooting -7, and I suspect this iteration — because of the weather — will be more akin to that than previous times when players have torn Renaissance Club apart.
The man is absolutely always a threat on links courses and his pedigree boasts an Open Championship win in 2019. I think he can get things done here before another strong showing next week at Royal Liverpool.
Nate’s Best Bets
Shane Lowry (+3500)
Adam Scott (+5500)