A major title will not be on the line – that will come a week later at the British Open – but the Genesis Scottish Open, which kicks off on Thursday at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick, should generate plenty of attention given the caliber of contenders playing.
Eight of the top 10 world-ranked players, including No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, No. 3 Rory McIlroy and No. 4 Patrick Cantlay, will be on the field. Trying to defend the crown from him will be No. 6 Xander Schauffele, who won by one stroke in 2022.
Here are another five to keep an eye on.
Overshadowed during last month’s final-round battle at the US Open at Los Angeles Country Club between eventual champion Wyndham Clark and McIlroy was the seven-under 63 dismissed Sunday by England’s Tommy. wooden fleet32, who became the first player to shoot that score twice in the Open. The other 63 of his came in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, Long Island.
However, Fleetwood, now ranked 22nd, failed to win the trophy both times, and in more than 100 starts he has yet to win a PGA Tour tournament. He came very close the week before the US Open, losing in a tiebreaker to Canada’s Nick Taylor at the RBC Canadian Open. In May, he tied for fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship.
A two-time member of Team Europe at the Ryder Cup, Fleetwood has had his moments at the Scottish Open, finishing second in 2020 and tied for fourth last year.
With his tie for ninth at the Travelers Championship last month, his first top-10 finish since March, it seemed Thomasone of the best players in the game, he was back on track.
A week later, he missed the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
Thomas, who has slipped to world No. 20, struggled heavily in the second round of the US Open. He hit just five fairways on his way to shoot an 81-for-11, missing the cut by 12 shots.
“It’s pretty humiliating and embarrassing to put up scores like that on a golf course I really liked,” he said.
The 30-year-old Thomas, who won the 2022 PGA Championship, has also fared poorly at the other majors this year. He missed the cut at the Masters and tied for 65th on the PGA
With the British Open a week away, this would be a good time for him to get back to his old form.
Speaking of the old way, with his victory two weeks ago at the Rocket Mortgage Classic his first in four years, Fowler, 34, is officially back.
It came as no surprise given how well Fowler, one of the tour’s most popular players, has been performing in recent months. He has finished in the top 15 or better in nine of his 11 tournaments since mid-March.
At the US Open, he started with a record 62 and was tied for the lead after three rounds. Although he faded in the final round with a 75 to tie for fifth, he played well the following week at the Travelers Championship, tying for 13th. In the third round, Fowler, who is ranked 21st after starting the year at No. 103, he flirted with a 59 before shooting a 60. A week later came the win at Michigan.
A lot was expected of Fowler, a star at Oklahoma State University, when he turned pro in 2009, and he did not disappoint. In 2014, he finished in the top five at each of the four majors. In 2015, he won the Players Championship.
It wasn’t that long ago when casual golf fans were probably saying to themselves: Wyndham, who?
The US Open changed that, giving clarkRanked No. 11 in the world, sudden fame.
The question is: was his performance a fluke (other, less heralded players have won major championships only to disappear soon after) or will the 29-year-old Clark be a force on tour?
Clark earned his first win at this year’s Wells Fargo Classic and has the game to win more tournaments, including majors. He hits it from distance, and how he was able to hold off McIlroy down the stretch at the Los Angeles Open was something to behold.
“It’s been a whirlwind few weeks and an incredible season so far, it all came together in Los Angeles a few weeks ago,” Clark said. “I’m really looking forward to keeping things rolling over the summer.”
In three of the last four major championships, Hovland, ranked #5, has been on the hunt. Sooner or later, he is bound to break through.
Hovland, who would be the first man from Norway to win a major, was co-leader with McIlroy going into the final round of last year’s British Open. He missed with a 74 to finish tied for fourth.
At this year’s Masters, he opened with a 65, and while he struggled in the next two rounds, he was only three behind to reach the final round. However, for the second straight major, he closed with a 74 to finish tied for seventh, failing to birdie until the 13th hole. A month later, he tied for second in the PGA Championship, two behind the winner, Brooks Koepka.
In June, the 25-year-old Hovland captured his fourth tour win and biggest yet, the Memorial Tournament, in a tiebreaker over Denny McCarthy. Hovland hit a 30-footer at the 17th and saved par from five feet at the 18th in regulation. In the tiebreaker, he made a seven-footer for the win.