This week: The Scottish Open and the U.S. Women’s Open
In case you haven’t seen these previews before, I come at them from the standpoint of whether or not it’s worth your time to tune in based on a variety of factors. Field strength, TV schedule (North America) and the course are the three main factors at play when discussing the watchability of each event, along with whatever notes I can dig up that contributes to its quality. Each event is then given a Miller score (because Johnny Miller really is the best) out of ten. I usually only focus on the PGA and European Tours because that’s where my knowledge tends to sit.
This week: The Scottish Open and the U.S. Women’s Open. Note that the PGA Tour is taking the week off as the scheduled stop, the Greenbrier, was cancelled due to the awful flooding in the West Virginia area.
- Event: Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open
- Course: Castle Stuart Golf Links (2009 – Gil Hanse)
- Location: Inverness, Scotland
- Five Consensus Favourites: Henrik Stenson, Branden Grace, Phil Mickelson, Shane Lowry and Martin Kaymer
- TV Schedule:
- Thursday: 5:30 AM to 1:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Friday: 5:30 AM to 1:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Saturday: 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Sunday: 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
The Scottish Open hasn’t always been a marquee stop on the European Tour. In fact, it wasn’t even a stop on the tour at all for a large portion of the last eighty years due to fighting with the R&A and other matters, but over the last few years, it has become one of the best events in all of men’s golf. With its spot on the schedule just ahead of the Open Championship, many of the players, including the upper tier of the PGA Tour, use this week as their prep for links golf ahead of the year’s third major championship. This has led to great fields showing up and playing on some of Scotland’s best courses, and even though last year’s champion Rickie Fowler is not in the field this week, Castle Stuart will still play host to a quality group of contenders.
Henrik Stenson, fresh off of a win in Germany, headlines the field with Branden Grace a close second in the eyes of the bookmakers. Phil Mickelson won this event three years ago at Castle Stuart before winning the Open Championship, so even though he doesn’t need any help with his confidence, I’m sure that he’ll be feeling good ahead of his tee time on Thursday morning. Shane Lowry, Martin Kaymer, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan Chris Wood, Thomas Pieters, Luke Donald and Matthew Fitzpatrick are all looking to make the Ryder Cup team for Europe, and when you look further down the list, you see tons of fun names like Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Soomin Lee, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Andrew Johnston. Top Americans like Patrick Reed, J.B. Holmes and Steve Stricker have made the trip. In short, it’s a fun field that should produce a great winner.
Castle Stuart tends to play a little easier than most courses on the schedule, so don’t be surprised to see the winner come in at around 20-under par. The video above does a good job illustrating what makes the course fun, and as the players mention, it’s a fairly open layout that doesn’t require the most precision from the tee. Where it does require precision, and creativity, is around the greens, which is why you’ve seen players like Mickelson and Donald come away victorious. Mickelson’s win in particular was a showcase for just how creative he can be on a golf course when the situation and surroundings dictate just that.
Golf Channel has full coverage of the tournament, which means 26 hours of televised golf over four days. Nobody expects you to watch all of it of course, but trust me when I tell you that you should do your best to make some time for this one because it’s a ton of fun.
The Scottish Open earns a score of 9 Millers out of 10.
- Event: U.S. Women’s Open
- Course: CordeValle Golf Club (1999 – Robert Trent Jones Jr.)
- Location: San Martin, California
- Five Consensus Favourites: Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, Lexi Thompson, Ariya Jutanugarn and Stacy Lewis
- TV Schedule:
- Thursday: 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM ET (Fox Sports 1)
- Friday: 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM ET (Fox Sports 1)
- Saturday: 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM ET (Fox)
- Sunday: 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM ET (Fox)
It seems like we’ve been saying this for the last two years or so, but the LPGA Tour is really on a roll. The top players are all playing like they should, and the emergence of 18-year old Canadian Brooke Henderson as the game’s next superstar has been a lot of fun to watch. Everything seems to be peaking for the LPGA as they head to their third major of the year, the U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle in California. With it being a major, the field is top notch and you can bet that the LPGA would love nothing more than to have the same kind of finish that they had at the KPMG Women’s PGA when Henderson was able to topple Lydia Ko in a playoff.
If you’re thinking that the name of the course sounds familiar, it’s probably because the PGA Tour has used CordeValle in the past for the Frys.com Open. When you stack it up against some of the other courses in California, it doesn’t quite measure up but that’s more of a commentary on the quality of the area than it is a negative on CordeValle.
It’s one of the more scenic courses that you’ll find on the LPGA Tour, with the drivable par-4 8th and the closing par-5 18th being the most memorable of the holes. It’s also worth noting that we’ll be able to see Fox at the helm again for coverage, and after a very solid experience at Oakmont for the men’s U.S. Open, I’m looking forward to seeing what they bring to the table this time with the women. What’s even better is that this tournament will be able to take centre stage with no PGA Tour stop and the Scottish Open theoretically ending before Fox goes on the air. Much like the Scottish Open, you should make some time for this one as well.
The U.S. Women’s Open earns a score of 9 Millers out of 10.