It’s the final tournament before The Open. It’s also the European Tour’s third Rolex Series event of the season, following Jon Rahm’s Irish Open victory last week. Rahm produced a scintillating Sunday of golf with aggression and excellence in equal measure; everything we want to see from superstars in the most lucrative events. This week will be loaded with plenty of stars, with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Matt Wallace & Henrik Stenson joined by Americans Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar & Rickie Fowler.
Love for Links
Lahinch Golf Course set the bar high, but there’s little doubt that The Renaissance Club’s East Lothian links course can fit the bill. It’s ready-made for entertaining golf, with penetrating ball flights and expert precision duly rewarded. Harping back to Rahm’s Sunday 62 in Ireland, we saw how playing fast & hard can not only please the crowds but also produce super-low scores on tough links courses.
Ones to Watch
Russell Knox seems the prime candidate for a home favourite, although Tour rookie Robert MacIntyre certainly fits the “One to Watch” tag. McIlroy is obviously the clear favourite this week, as he will be next week. Eleven Top-10 finishes and two wins, including The Players Championship, in 13 starts this season makes his form unparalleled, although it’s worth noting this is his first event in Europe since The Open last year.
A couple of Englishmen in Matt Wallace and Tyrrell Hatton may be worth keeping an eye on, as World No. 24 Wallace continues to establish himself among the world’s elite and Hatton appears to have finally found a way to tap into that aggressive approach whilst maintaining sufficient composure.
Pick of the Bunch
Martin Kaymer is a name trending in the right direction; north of the leaderboards. In 2019, three missed cuts in 17 events have all been Stateside (no worse than T24 in five European tournaments) and the German has notched three top-10 finishes, including a third, in his last 7 starts. As the biggest name and highest-ranked player in the field without an Open spot, he’s not lacking in motivation.
Written by Joe Carabini