With just a week away to go before the 150th Open Championship – the 2022 season’s final major, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour merge for the 40th edition of the Scottish Open.
Fourteen of the top 15 in the OWGR will be in attendance this week at the Renaissance Club, the newest track on Scotland’s Gold Coast.
The season’s three major champions – world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler (Masters), No. 5 Justin Thomas (PGA) and newly minted U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick – headline a super-stacked field which also includes the likes of Jon Rahm, Will Zalatoris and Xander Schauffele, among other marquee names.
15. Ryan Fox
The 35-year-old from New Zealand has been on a tear in Europe on the DP World Tour as of late, with each of his last eight starts resulting in a top 15, including a win, three runner-ups, and a solo-third. He also finished T6 at Renaissance at the 2018 Scottish Open, fueled by an incredible 8-under 63 in the third round. Fox has not been so great in events involving PGA Tours, but hot is hot, and he is sizzling on this stage at the moment.
World Rank: 46th
Last Six: 2, 3, MC, 2, 54, 2
2022 Majors: MC, 54, DNQ
Best Scottish/Renaissance: T6 (2018)
14. Billy Horschel
Horschel continues to be a disappointment in majors, but has had considerable success overseas in recent years, winning last year’s BMW PGA Championship and finishing T26 a week ago at the BMW International Open, where he had a third-round 65. In the U.S., he blew away the field at last month’s Memorial Tournament and has posted two runner-up finishes. Also, he has made 14 of 16 cuts on the season and is just one top-10 away from his second-most in a season. We wouldn’t really be surprised with anything this week.
World Rank: 15th
Last Six: 26, MC, 1, MC, 68, 21
2022 Majors: MC, 68, 43
Best Scottish/Renaissance: T54 (2021)
13. Sungjae Im
Im had been playing very well before missing the cut at last month’s U.S. Open, with four consecutive finishes of T21 of better. The young South Korean feels safe to pick for a bounceback week, in spite of his lack of experience in links golf. Statistically, Im has been better than you’d expect from his results, which haven’t been bad, as he ranks 12th or better in four of the six strokes gained: categories, with the other two still being well in the positive. He is 12th in greens in regulation and has skyrocketed from 142nd last season to fifth this season in strokes gained: around-the-green.
World Rank: 23rd
Last Six: MC, 10, 15, 21, 8, 35
2022 Majors: MC, WD, 8
Best Scottish/Renaissance: Debut (2022)
12. Cameron Smith
With two wins on the season, the reigning PLAYERS Champion cannot be forgotten at Renaissance, despite poor results in his last two Tour starts. The Tour leader in birdie average, Smith has posted some shockingly low scores in several events and would obviously like to get back into that form before The Open in a week. He will be looking for his first top-10 since finishing T3 at The Masters in August.
World Rank: 6th
Last Six: MC, 48, 13, 13, MC, 3
2022 Majors: MC, 13, 3
Best Scottish/Renaissance: T42 (2018)
11. Jordan Spieth
The 13-time Tour champion has fallen a bit off the pace he’d set in mid-season, when he won the RBC Heritage in April, and then finished solo-second at the AT&T Byron Nelson a week later, but has proven himself on the links stage, winning the 2017 Open Championship, finishing second at last year’s Open, and T4 in 2015. Spieth’s putting is an issue, though, and will probably be the biggest factor in whether he is relevant this week and next.
World Rank: 12th
Last Six: MC, 37, 18, 7, 34, 2
2022 Majors: 37, 34, MC
Best Scottish/Renaissance: Debut (2022)
10. Hideki Matsuyama
In his most recent start, a Sunday explosion put Matsuyama into the U.S. Open mix late and posted a score before finishing fourth. With two wins this season, the 30-year-old Japanese star has missed just two weekends in 16 starts, with one of those being an injury withdraw, and the other being a disqualification at The Memorial a month ago due to an equipment issue. Hideki has been incredible tee to green this season, and while his putting has not exactly been a plus, it has been a considerable improvement of what he had shown the previous two years.
World Rank: 14th
Last Six: 4, DQ, 60, 3, 14, WD
2022 Majors: 4, 60, 14
Best Scottish/Renaissance: MC (2018)
9. Sam Burns
With three victories and a runner-up in the 2022 season, it was shocking to see Burns miss the cut at the Travelers Championship, his most recent start. Feels like that should be considered an outlier for his year, although with his lack of experience, it might be worth monitoring. Burns opened this event a year ago with a 1-over 72, but then found his footing, and a 65-66 weekend found him in a share of 18th place. He currently ranks second in the FedExCup standings, albeit a distant second, and ranks 7th in both birdie and scoring average.
World Rank: 9th
Last Six: MC, 27, 4, 1, 20, MC
2022 Majors: 27, 20, MC
Best Scottish/Renaissance: T18 (2021)
8. Patrick Cantlay
The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year, Cantlay has six top-14s in his last five starts, including a victory while teamed up with Xander Schauffele at the Zurich Classic. A final-round 76 two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship, where he fell from 2nd to 13th on the Sunday leaderboard was shocking, but there is little reason to think it will cause him to spiral, even with this being his tournament debut. He ranks inside the top 35 in five of the six strokes gained categories and is fourth in birdie average.
World Rank: 7th
Last Six: 13, 14, 3, MC, 2, 39
2022 Majors: 14, MC, 39
Best Scottish/Renaissance: Debut (2022)
7. Collin Morikawa
The world No. 4 had been in a surprising struggle over the past two months, largely due to issues on the greens, but he appears to be trending upwards after a T5 at the U.S. Open last month. Although even there, he shot a third-round 77 after holding the 36-hole lead. How about his proficiency in links golf? Don’t read too much into his T71 finish here last year; he will be the defending champion at next week’s Open Championship, so that has been sufficiently answered.
World Rank: 4th
Last Six: 5, MC, 40, 55, 26, 5
2022 Majors: 5, 55, 5
Best Scottish/Renaissance: T71 (2021)
6. Jon Rahm
With seven career European Tour victories, Rahm has been among the best Tour players in the field overseas for some time. The Spaniard was in third place through 54 holes at Renaissance a year ago but stagnated late as eight consecutive pars to close his round kept him just two strokes out of the playoff. Rahm comes into the week off back-to-back top-12s and won in Mexico in May. He currently ranks second on Tour in greens in regulation and remains one of the world’s longest hitters.
World Rank: 3rd
Last Six: 12, 10, 48, 1, 27, 9
2022 Majors: 12, 48, 27
Best Scottish/Renaissance: T7 (2021)
5. Will Zalatoris
What more does he have to do to win? The 25-year-old has seven top 10s in 12 starts since the 2022 calendar year began, including three runner-ups, two of which were in majors. That most recent second place was at the U.S. Open, as Matt Fitzpatrick’s victory cemented Zalatoris as the best golfer in the world without a PGA Tour win. Everyone recognizes it will come soon, though. Could it be at Renaissance? He had four under-par rounds here a year ago, reaching 10-under for the week and finishing in a share of 26th.
World Rank: 13th
Last Six: 2, 5, MC, 2, MC, 6
2022 Majors: 2, 2, 6
Best Scottish/Renaissance: T26 (2021)
4. Justin Thomas
The world No. 5 has been having a stellar season, with a win at the PGA Championship his best result among four top-three finishes. JT has shown no glaring weaknesses and ranks third in strokes gained: tee-to-green and strokes gained: total. He owns two top-10 finishes in two starts at the Renaissance, finishing T8 here a year ago, headlined by bookend rounds of 65, while posting a T9 result at the 2019 Scottish Open. A 63-64 weekend at last month’s RBC Canadian Open led to a third-place finish, allowing him one good result in his three starts since that PGA Championship triumph. He’s always a threat when the scores can go especially low.
World Rank: 5th
Last Six: 37, 3, MC, 1, 5, 35
2022 Majors: 37, 1, 8
Best Scottish/Renaissance: T8 (2021)
3. Xander Schauffele
After going through a bit of a “meh” stretch by his standards, Schauffele is back playing like one of the world’s elite. He has landed in the winner’s circle twice in his past six months, teaming with Patrick Cantlay to win the Zurich Classic in late April, and then outdueling Cantlay from the final Sunday pairing two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship, his most recent start. Those four non-wins in that stretch were still results of T18 or better. He will be a very popular pick at The Open Championship next week, an event where he finished co runner-up in 2018, and as far as this week goes, he will also likely have some money thrown on him after finishing T10 a year ago. A final-round 4-under 67 actually DROPPED him two spots on Sunday.
World Rank: 11th
Last Six: 1, 14, 18, 13, 5, MC
2022 Majors: 14, 13, MC
Best Scottish/Renaissance: T10 (2021)
2. Matt Fitzpatrick
Set to make his first start since his major championship breakthrough last month at the U.S. Open, the eight-time European Tour winner reached a playoff in this event a year ago, before falling to Min Woo Lee on the first extra hole. It was his third consecutive top-15 in this event, all which were held at Renaissance. The Brit has been dead-solid everywhere this season, with eight top-10s in the 2022 calendar year. Fitzpatrick leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, and is second in strokes gained: total and scoring average. There is very, very little reason to doubt him this week.
World Rank: 10th
Last Six: 1, 10, MC, 5, 2, MC
2022 Majors: 1, 5, 14
Best Scottish/Renaissance: T2 (2021)
1. Scottie Scheffler
The landslide World No. 1 has now gone six straight starts without a win after accumulating four victories in his previous four starts. It can’t really be called a slump, though, because he has five top-20s in those last six starts, including two runner-ups. Links golf does not appear to be an issue for him: he was T12 in this event last year, before he was THIS Scottie Scheffler. He then finished T8 at The Open Championship.
World Rank: 1st
Last Six: 13, 2, 18, 2, MC, 15
2022 Majors: 2, MC, 1
Best Scottish/Renaissance: T12 (2021)
Next Five: Joaquin Niemann, Tommy Fleetwood, Min Woo Lee, Chris Kirk, Max Homa