Why big opportunities for Scottish players in home Opens need to be earned
At the time of writing this column, the figure for the golfers set to fly the Saltire in the $9 million Rolex Series event stood at eight, namely Bob MacIntyre, Richie Ramsay, Ewen Ferguson, Calum Hill, Connor Syme, David Law, Scott Jamieson and Grant Forrest.
The first seven on that list secured spots on the strength of their overall performance on the DP World Tour last season, with Forrest joining them through an invitation, which he’d earned from being the leading Scot in this season’s Race to Dubai until recently.
For the record, eight was also the total for the Caledonian contingent 12 months ago, when it was staged for the first time as a co-sanctioned event by the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour.
Through that, the field is now split down the middle between the two circuits and, from a DP World Tour player’s perspective, the Genesis Scottish Open has become the hottest ticket of the season outside of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
With no qualifier any more, players failing to get into The Renaissance Club field under their own steam now find themselves in a fight for just three invitations, which, incidentally, all went to Scots last year as the door was opened for Law, Syme and Marc Warren to tee up.
By the looks of things, some people expected the same thing to happen for the latest edition, but, in addition to Forrest, Swedish sensation Ludvig Aberg was announced as an invitee just under two weeks ago before Dutchman Joost Luiten was added to the list on Sunday night.
One of those spots then became available again on Monday afternoon after Ludberg, who is shaping up to be a genuine contender for the Ryder Cup in Rome in September, was moved on to the PGA Tour list.
Yes, of course, we’d like to see as many home players as possible in both this event and also the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, which takes place at Dundonald Links for the second year running early next month, but, like it or not, there’s now a trade-off with both these tournaments.
For the second year running, the Genesis Scottish Open is boasting one of the strongest fields in DP World Tour history, with eight of the world’s top ten, including top-ranked Scottish Scheffler and No 3 Rory McIlroy, teeing up on this occasion.
With The Open taking place at Royal Liverpool next week, it’s the only chance for fans to see the game’s best players on Scottish soil this year and the same applies with the Women’s Scottish Open due to the AIG Women’s Open being held this year at Walton Heath.
Like the men’s event, the Women’s Scottish Open is also now a co-sanctioned event involving the Ladies European Tour and LPGA, with its status being elevated considerably as a result of that and not just in monetary terms.
Yes, we love watching Scottish golfers taking on the world’s best on home soil, but, at the same time, those big opportunities need to be earned. Just saying.
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