Scottish Open Preview, Picks & Analysis
THE strongest field of the year to date will assemble at the Renaissance Club as Bernd Wiesberger defends his Scottish Open title. And he will be joined by Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter in the season’s second Rolex Series event, which means there is some serious money up for grabs. The organisers will be hoping that the weather is kind, otherwise it could get very, very messy.
Wiesberger and Westwood will both be vying for a third Rolex Series victory. Wiesberger triumphed in a playoff against Frenchman Benjamin Hebert last year to lift the trophy in a season which saw him enjoy three victories and marked a remarkable return from a seven-month injury lay-off.
The 34-year-old took his European Tour win tally to seven in that stellar 2019 season, with his triumph in East Lothian book-ended by wins at Made in Denmark – where he held off Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre – and his second Rolex Series victory at the Italian Open.
Wiesberger said: “The win at the Scottish Open was a big part of a great year for me, and I’m excited to get back to the Renaissance Club. Things will be a bit different this year as we continue the return to golf, but I’ve always enjoyed playing in Scotland, and to stand on the 18th green with the trophy at the end of the week last year was very special, particularly after digging in to win in a playoff.
“I appreciated every win last season and was happy to be playing some great golf after missing out on these big events through injury the previous year, and successfully defending my title in Scotland is right up there amongst my goals for 2020.”
Fleetwood will be looking to get his season back on track after a bitterly disappointing US Open. He had played well in Portugal and crossed the Atlantic full of confidence, but he struggled on the greens and missed too many fairways. The Englishman is one of the few players in the field who probably won’t be too bothered if the wind blows.
Westwood captured his 25th European Tour title - and his second on the Rolex Series - when he got his 2020 season off to a flying start with victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January.
That title saw Westwood become the first active golfer to win in four different decades on the European Tour, with his impressive haul of victories including the Scottish Open in 1998 and his first Rolex Series win at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player in 2018.
He will be joined in the field by two-time major winner and fellow Scottish Open winner Kaymer, who has been enjoying a welcome return to form in recent weeks. Kaymer clinched the title at Scotland’s national open in 2009, before going on to claim the US PGA Championship in 2010 and the U.S. Open four years later. Incredibly, that represents the German’s last victory anywhere.
Poulter is also set to tee it up in East Lothian once again as he makes his 16th appearance in Scotland’s national open. The Englishman’s 12 European Tour victories include two World Golf Championships, and he will be aiming for a first Scottish Open title.
The Scottish Open is the second Rolex Series event on the reshaped 2020 Race to Dubai, and the first since the resumption of the season. It takes place for the second consecutive year at The Renaissance Club - which was founded in 2008 and nestles on 300 picturesque acres along the Firth of Forth.
The tournament was won in 2015 by Rickie Fowler, in 2016 by Alex Noren, in 2017 by Rafa Cabrera Bello, in 2018 by Brandon Stone and last year by Wiesberger.
Tommy Fleetwood. Will relish the challenge
Bernd Wiesberger. Beautiful ball striker
Lee Westwood. Continues to defy the years
Tommy Fleetwood. Ready to win again
Bernd Wiesberger. Still hugely underrated
Lee Westwood. Playing some outstanding golf at the US Open
Ian Poulter. Hasn’t crossed the Atlantic just to make up the numbers
Matthew Fitzpatrick. Looking to win in Scotland
Justin Rose. In desperate need of a good week
Jordan Smith. Enjoying some fine form
Martin Kaymer. Must win again sooner or later
Matt Wallace. A big-time players
Erik Van Rooyen. Elegant swing
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Tags: european tour