The Scottish Open has been a constant on the European Tour since 1986 and, after 15 consecutive renewals at the picturesque Loch Lomond Golf Course up to 2010, it has been played at several different golf courses since.
The exit from Loch Lomond was by request of the players, who thought that the parkland nature of that venue didn’t provide a suitable warm up the week before the Open Championship, and more appropriate courses have since been used.
This year’s venue is The Dundonald Links in Troon, a course that was designed to compete with the East Coast’s Championship Course Kingsbarns. It measures around 7,100 yards, and should provide players with the chance to play the kind of shots they’ll have to play around Royal Birkdale this week, even though recent rain is likely to make it an easier test than the organisers were hoping it would be.
It was a similar scenario in the Irish Open last week, where John Rahm belied his lack of Links experience to run away with it. If class is to rise to the top gain this week, then the head of the market could be the place to look. Rickie Fowler heads the market at 8/1, and the 2015 Champion could easily outclass the majority of this field, though whether he wants to be in the full-heat of battle the week before the Open Championship is open to debate and, at 8/1, he looks too short. The same goes for Rory McIlroy at 12/1, and the Irishman looks out of form anyway having missed his last two cuts.
Last year’s winner Alex Noren and last year’s Open Champion Henrik Stenson are more interesting at 16/1, but again may be trying to hone their games this week for next week rather than concentrating on a win.
Therefore, it may be worth taking a risk on three Scots for whom winning this great championship would mean more than most.
Richie Ramsay hasn’t enjoyed much success in his native Open, but hit the leaderboard for the first-time last year when sixth. More interestingly, he rose from a slump last week to finish second on similar terrain in Ireland, and has often been a player who can string a short run of good form together.
Scott Jamieson is another home talent who has posted a couple of good performances in this, finishing third and eighth in his last six attempts, though the downside is the four missed-cuts he’s also posted. However, with three top-21s in his last 6 starts, he looks worth chancing at 150/1.
After a run of very poor form, Marc Warren is harder to recommend, but he often posts a decent finish when it seems least likely, and his tournament figures of 3/38/3/4/62 suggest he’s likely to find form here if anywhere. He’s also a proven winner when in contention, and 250/1 looks a big price.