Rory McIlroy will welcome a slight penalty for capricious shots on his return to a site he said was once indicative of European Tour runs that failed to provide sufficient testing.
McIlroy shot 13 under par at the Scottish Open at Renaissance Club in 2019, but that was only enough for a tie for 34th place as Bernd Wiesberger beat Benjamin Hebert in the playoffs after the pair finished in tied with 22 under par.
Two months later, McIlroy shot 15 under par finishing tied for 26th in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and expressed frustration, saying he was “honestly sick” of such easy setups and that the Renaissance Club didn’t. not been “a good test”.
Last year’s winning total was 11 under par and with new tees and a thicker rough in place for the 2021 edition, McIlroy believes his tally from two years ago may well prove to be more competitive. this time.
“I would say 14 cents this week is probably going to have a decent chance,” said the four-time Major winner. “It all depends on the weather, the direction of the wind, if the course is firming up more than it currently is.
“It’s obviously mild because of all the rain there has been in the last few days. But it’s good. It’s a good test. I think they added some tees. It is a little longer. The rough is going up a bit more than it probably was last time around.
“Maybe the players could just be punished a little more for capricious shots, which is kind of what you’re looking for. You have to get up and hit some good golf shots and you want to be a little challenged. I think this week’s setup is pretty good.
McIlroy had originally planned to take time off this week ahead of the 149th Open at Royal St George’s, but with strict coronavirus controls in place for the last Major of the year, 32-year-old wife Erica and daughter Poppy remained at the United States and he added the Scottish Open to his schedule.
“I wouldn’t say it was forced on me, I’m not here against my will,” McIlroy added before joking about the stance of his allegiances regarding the Euro 2020 semi-final between l ‘England and Denmark.
“It made sense to play rather than go to London for a week and train there. Guess I could have gone to Wembley and put on my High Dane!
“I can’t wait to get back to the golf course. I was pretty rusty last week in Ireland. I didn’t really practice the week after the US Open and it kind of showed up in my game, so it was nice to reconnect with Pete. [Cowen] who’s here and has been working on stuff the last few days.
McIlroy started working with famed Coach Cowen after missing the Players and Masters Championship Cup earlier this year and won the Wells Fargo Championship for the first time since November 2019 in May.
When asked how he would sum up his work with Cowen and vice versa, McIlroy joked, “He would probably tell you I’m a shit.
“I think that’s the great thing about Pete, he doesn’t water it down.” He’ll tell me when it’s not great so that when he gives me a compliment I know it’s real.
“It’s probably things I’ve worked on before but said in a slightly different way, with slightly different thoughts.
“Pete has been doing it for so long and with so many great players, so he knows what works and he knows what doesn’t.
“I really enjoyed learning from him. He has such a great knowledge of not only the golf swing, but the game of golf in general, and yes, it has been a good few months.
SCOTTISH OPEN LOWDOWN
Stock Exchange: 6.75 million euros (1.1 million euros to the winner)
Or: North Berwick, Scotland
The lesson: The Renaissance – designed by American architect Tom Doak – was designed from 300 acres of pine forest with a number of trees preserved in strategic fairway and green positions. Built on land close to the Firth of Forth and adjacent to the famous Muirfield Links, the course was deemed ‘too easy’ by Rory McIlroy when he entered the tournament in 2019 with a less than five cut. Since then, the course has been beefed up with additional distances and will play on a 7,293 yard par 71 scorecard.
Field: One of the strongest on the PGA European Tour for a regular season event, the Scottish Open’s place in the calendar just before the Open has traditionally guaranteed a strong American presence. World number one and recent US Open champion Jon Rahm is in the spotlight and the strength of the field on the World Ranking Index at 424 (with 56 points for the winner) reflects the number of star names that prepare themselves.
In inverted commas: “Week to week on the PGA Tour we try to get as high as possible and here we try to keep it as low as possible. . .there are absolute brutal par 4s, number 11 in particular, 490 yards. i hit the iron 4 [approach]»- Will Zalatoris on the contrast of the practice of golf in links.
Irish in the field: Graeme McDowell (8:30 a.m.), Pádraig Harrington (8:40 a.m.), Jonathan Caldwell (9:20 a.m.), Rory McIlroy (1:00 p.m.), Cormac Sharvin (2:10 a.m.).
Bet: It’s hard to argue with Jon Rahm’s place at the top of the market although the odds of 15-2 seem just a little tight. . . in terms of value, Branden Grace’s 35-1 is worth seeing while Richie Ramsay’s improved form makes him a two-way fancy at 125-1.
On TV: Live on Sky Sports Golf from 8 a.m.
JOHN DEERE CLASSIC LOWDOWN
Stock Exchange: € 5.25 million (€ 980,000 to the winner)
Or: Silvis, Illinois
The lesson: TPC Deere Run – designed by DA Weibring and Chris Gray – is a purpose-built stadium course on an elevated location overlooking the River Rock that measures 7,268 meters and plays a par 71. It has a reputation for offering something of a bird festival, the 59 of Paul Goydos in 2010 remaining the course record.
Field: Unsurprisingly, a weaker than usual field on the PGA Tour given the exodus of players to Scotland, world number 16 Daniel Berger being the highest ranked player. Three-time winner Steve Stricker chose to skip the US Seniors Open in favor of another John Deere crack.
In inverted commas: “I’m just looking to get into that top 125 (on the FedEx Cup), get into the first playoff event and from there I’m going to break it and try to get into the top 75 or 70 for the next event. I’m just looking to do well this week and try to birdies and try to evoke some of those feelings that I had two years ago ”- Dylan Fritelli, 2019 winner and technically defending champion, seeking to reverse his season.
Irish in the field: Séamus Power is in a group with Ben Martin and Nick Watney (first departure at 2.13pm Irish time).
Bet: Brian Harman has been showing good form lately – two top 10s in his last three outings – and is available at 14-1 while Russell Henley has done as well as anyone for three rounds of the US Open and is at 16-1 to rebound. this last tower collapses. Troy Merritt is another looking to bounce back from his playoff loss in Rocket Mortgage and looks decent two-way value at 40-1.
On TV: Live on Sky Sports Golf from 8 p.m. (red button from 12.45 p.m.).
CLASSIC LPGA MARATHON
Stock Exchange: 1.7 M € (250,000 € to the winner)
Or: Sylvanie, Ohio
The lesson: Highland Meadows Golf Club – 6,555 yards, par 71 – is a private club that hosted the 1989 Marathon Classic. A stream, measuring about 10 miles in total, winds its way through the course and is in play on a number. of holes.
Field: Players on the pitch will wear pink ribbons in support of touring veteran Jane Park, whose young girl Grace fell ill last week and is undergoing intensive care treatment and observation. American Danielle Kang is the defending champion.
Irish in the field: Leona Maguire (13:32) and Stephanie Meadow (18:43) both start off the first tee on their first laps.
Bet: Defending champion Danielle Kang is the 15-2 favorite and, although she hasn’t won since that victory last August, she has finished in the top five on her last two tours. . . Leona Maguire’s great form saw her reduced to 25-1 ahead of this event as she seeks a decisive victory on the LPGA Tour. Rachel Heck, the world’s number one amateur, performs at the invitation of a sponsor and could be worth a look at 125-1.