2023 Genesis Scottish Open Course-Fit Picks: Jordan Spieth, Tyrrell Hatton & Corey Conners
Via Andrew Redington/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Spieth of the United States lines up a putt on the seventh green during the second round of the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club on June 16, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
As we prepare for the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, the PGA Tour will make one final stop to play the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick, Scotland. The tournament is a co-sanctioned event between the DP World Tour and PGA Tour with a field comprised of members from both tours.
The Renaissance Club is a 7,237-yard par-70 and features fescue greens. The Tom Doak design is a links-style golf course and should provide players with the chance to acclimate to links golf as part of their preparation for The Open Championship.
The Scottish Open will play host to 156 golfers, and the field is absolutely loaded. Most of the top players are in attendance with the exception of Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Tony Finau, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama.
Past Winners at the Genesis Scottish Open
- 2022: Xander Schauffele (-7)
- 2021: Min Woo Lee (-18)
- 2019: Aaron Rai (-11)
- 2018: Bernd Wiesberger (-22)
5 Key Stats at The Renaissance Club
Let's take a look at five key metrics for The Renaissance Club to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.
The modeling will have some limitations this week, as half the field has been playing primarily on the DP World Tour. Therefore, the more recent statistics for these players' DP World Tour performances will not be included in the strokes gained metrics.
1. Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Approach will once again be the most important statistic this week. The course record is held by Bernd Weisberger, who has been one of the most precise iron players in the world throughout the course of his career.
SG: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds
- Scottie Scheffler (+40.0)
- Mark Hubbard (+24.6)
- Xander Schauffele (+23.0)
- Gary Woodland (+22.6)
- Aaron Rai (+21.8)
2. Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
SG: Off the Tee will certainly be a factor this week. The Renaissance Club features relatively tight fairways, and longer hitters have fared well here in the past as well.
SG: Off the Tee Over Past 24 rounds
- Scottie Scheffler (+27.6)
- Patrick Cantlay (+22.3)
- Rory McIlroy (+21.9)
- Byeong Hun An (+21.2)
- Kevin Yu (+20.6)
3. Birdie or Better: Gained
The difficulty of the Renaissance Club will be entirely dependent on the weather. Last year, the wind picked up, which caused the course to play difficult. In the past, winning scores have gotten close to -20.
Birdie or Better: Gained Over Past 24 Rounds
- Rickie Fowler (+30.6)
- Adam Scott (+29.9)
- Xander Schauffele (+29.3)
- Scottie Scheffler (+27.2)
- Rory McIlroy (+26.8)
4. Strokes Gained: Putting (Slow)
The greens in Scotland are typically much slower than many of the players who play primarily on the PGA Tour are used to. Therefore, it makes sense to evaluate which Tour players have had success on slower greens.
Strokes Gained: Putting (Slow) Over Past 24 Rounds:
- Brian Harman (+18.4)
- Jordan Spieth (+16.6)
- Brendon Todd (+15.8)
- Andrew Putnam (+14.4)
- Aaron Baddeley (+13.2)
5. Strokes Gained: Par-3
With five par-3s on the course, it'll be crucial to play them effectively in order to contend.
Strokes Gained: Par-3 Over Past 24 Rounds
- Carson Young (+15.6)
- Jordan Smith (+14.4)
- Rory McIlroy (+13.7)
- Nicolai Hojgaard (+13.6)
- Andrew Novak (+13.5)
2023 Genesis Scottish Open Model Rankings
Note: Xander Schauffele ranked first in the model last year and won at +2000.
Below, I've compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed — SG: App (27%), Birdie or Better (20%), SG: OTT (22%), Par-3 (14%) and SG: Putting (Slow) (17%).
- Scottie Scheffler
- Rory McIlroy
- Xander Schauffele
- Tyrrell Hatton
- Patrick Cantlay
- Rickie Fowler
- Tommy Fleetwood
- Jordan Spieth
- Wyndham Clark
- Shane Lowry
2023 Genesis Scottish Open Picks
Tyrrell Hatton +2000 (DraftKings)
With the PGA Tour moving to a links-style course in Scotland, it's extremely difficult to look past Tyrrell Hatton to start the betting card. The Englishman has been one of the best links players in the world over the course of his career and has won in Europe on five different occasions, including two victories at the Alfred Dunhill Links in Scotland.
Hatton has also played well at the Renaissance Club. He's played the course three times as a professional and has finished 14th (2019), 18th (2021) and 24th (2022). The 31-year-old is having arguably the best season of his career on the PGA Tour and has six top-20 finishes in his past seven starts, including three in the top five.
Hatton hasn't always been the most consistent player off the tee, but that's changed for the better in 2023. He's gained an average of 2.5 strokes per tournament in his past 10 starts to go along with 2.4 strokes on approach.
His recent ball striking is encouraging, but it's still not quite as impressive as his putting. In his past three starts, Hatton has gained 5.6, 7.0 and 4.4 strokes putting, making it hard to argue that any player on Tour is rolling it more efficiently at the moment.
There's no doubt that Hatton has played well enough this season to earn a victory, and The Renaissance Club is arguably the course he's most suited for on the PGA Tour schedule.
Jordan Spieth +2500 (DraftKings)
While there have been some injury concerns over the past few months, I can't help but take a chance on Jordan Spieth this week. The reports of a wrist injury date back to the PGA Championship, and the missed cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge the following week was undoubtedly concerning, but recent results lead me to believe he may be past it.
He finished fifth at the Memorial Tournament and gained 10.3 strokes from tee to green. At Muirfield Village, where ball-strikers reign supreme, I find it hard to believe he could finish in the top five with impressive statistics and a balky wrist.
Spieth is one of the most accomplished players in the field on links courses. The three-time major champion has won at Royal Birkdale and Chambers Bay and finished second at Royal St. George's. He also played well at The Renaissance Club last year, finishing 10th and shooting first and third rounds of 68 and 66 before faltering on Sunday.
Spieth is another player who's had an excellent season without a win to show for it. He has five top-five finishes in his past 11 starts, including a playoff loss at the RBC Heritage. Rickie Fowler won in his most recent start at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and I believe Spieth can one-up his good friend by getting it done at this week's Genesis Scottish Open.
Corey Conners +6000 (bet365)
Although he hasn't had much success in two trips to The Renaissance Club, Corey Conners has had some strong finishes on links-style courses in the past. The Canadian has finishes of 28th and 15th over his past two Open Championships, demonstrating his ability to compete on similar setups.
More importantly for Conners, the ball striking has come around of late. He finished ninth in his most recent start at the Travelers Championship and gained 6.7 strokes on approach for the week, which was the most he's gained in that category since his win at the Valero Texas Open back in early April.
It's no secret that Conners' biggest deficiency over the course of his career has been his putting. The fescue greens at The Renaissance Club roll slow, which should be helpful. The rain-softened golf course will also benefit Conners due to his ability to keep the ball in the fairway and fire at pins without much fear of the ball running off the greens.
The super elite players are in Scotland to win but will be equally as focused on preparing for The Open Championship next week, opening the door for a good player like Conners to take advantage.
Adam Scott +5500 (DraftKings)
I have a strong gut feeling that Adam Scott is going to be involved in the story over the next two weeks. He's been terrific on links courses throughout his career and won the Scottish PGA Championship all the way back in 2002. Australians have fared well at The Renaissance Club, as evidenced by Min Woo Lee's victory at the event in 2021.
Scott's iron play hasn't been what we've grown accustomed to over the course of his career, but he's found a way to string some solid finishes together over the past few months. The Aussie has four top-20 finishes in his past six starts, including top-10 finishes at both the Memorial and the Wells Fargo Championship.
I believe a player with a hot putter will rise to the top on this type of golf course, and there are few players who've putted better than Scott this year. Over his past five events, the 43-year-old has gained an average of 3.0 strokes putting per event.
I believe Scott has a few years left where he can contend with the best in the world.