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Genesis Scottish Open betting preview: Hatton the Renaissance man

Genesis Scottish Open betting preview: Hatton the Renaissance man

Matt Cooper takes a look at the final chance for contenders to get their game ready for next week’s Open at Royal Liverpool.

I’VE always been an enthusiastic supporter of the idea that the title sponsors of golf tournaments reveal much about the state of the world. Well, maybe not the world, but certainly the state of the golfing world. Or Europe. Let’s stick to Europe. Okay, the European Tour (the DP World Tour if you absolutely insist).

Take this week’s Scottish Open. Back in the early 1970s, when the circuit first came into formal existence, it was backed by Sunbeam Electric, the low-cost manufacturer of contraptions designed to turn household chores into a thing of the past. They made a Teasmade, for example, the very thought of which immediately plunges you deep into the dark hours of a winter’s morning in 1976. The tournament also worked a bit like a Teasmade, as it happens, which is to say that it only lasted two years.

It was revived in the 1980s and to absolutely nobody’s surprise it was done so by a wee dram of Bell’s whisky. Yes, the romantics like to believe that it was Spanish flare that prompted a decade of European golfing renaissance, but the reality is that it was fueled by alcohol. Look at the brand names on the trophies: Whyte & Mackay, Johnnie Walker, Dunhill, Haig, Suntory, Newcastle Brown, Murphy’s, Martini, Skol, Double Diamond, Hennessy Cognac. Add Benson & Hedges to the mix and it’s not so much a schedule as the inventory for the Monday morning supplier’s delivery down your local boozer.

When, in the late 1990s, the tournament found a home at the ultra-exclusive Loch Lomond GC it was entirely fitting that an early edition was sponsored by Gulfstream, a leap in technology from the toasters of Sunbeam that reflected how the European Tour was transforming from a cheery band of rogues and rascals driving third-hand camper vans around the continent to agent-pampered athletes residing in luxury hotels where the gym is always busier than the bar.

In recent years, when Aberdeen Asset Management became the title sponsor, it was further proof of golf’s growing corporate slickness.

And now the Scottish Open is backed by Genesis granting it a biblical title for these biblical times when a sport that has pottered along for decades, cosily reflecting its times, now feels a little like God has sent down plagues upon it. We’ve yet to see water turned to blood and, although you might wish lice, boils or pestilence on dawdlers guilty of slow play we’ve yet to see that, but the strife and angst caused by an awareness that golf’s administrators (new and old) don’t want to manage assets so much as fling them around willy-nilly does rather feel like an infestation of locusts might not be too far away.

So where better to apply a balm to the golfing soul than the seaside? It’s where the game started and where it is still played at its best – on the linksland, where land and sea unite (if not warring golfers).

The Renaissance Club is the host and it is a modern links design, created by Tom Doak, with genuine links turf and contouring. There have been concerns in the past that it had not been a tough enough test and to some extent that was down to clement weather because when it’s been windy it has proved a strong examination. But it would also be fair to say that the events have often been won on the greens.

Each Way – Tyrrell Hatton

It’s been a good year for the Englishman featuring half a dozen top-six finishes in America with the highlight second place at THE PLAYERS. Might a return to Scotland be what is needed to land another win? He’s a two-time winner (and two-time runner-up) in the Dunhill Links Championship, has been second at Castle Stuart and fourth at Royal Aberdeen in this event, and was fifth at Royal Troon in the Open. Although he has three top 25s at Renaissance, he’s never quite got the putter hot there. However his numbers have been excellent in his last three starts and that could turn consistency into contention.

Each Way – Lucas Herbert

The Aussie has taken to this course, carding 67-66 to open on debut in 2019 and then finishing fourth in both 2020 and 2021. In the first of those efforts, he was the leader at halfway and a year later he added a Saturday 64 when repeating the finish. He’s also finished seventh in the Dunhill Links Championship and was T15th in the Open last year. He likes Scotland, likes this plot of linksland, is a winner on the PGA Tour by the sea (in Bermuda) and is a very fine putter.

Each Way – Alex Noren

It’s not been a good year for the Swede but he might have turned it around on his last visit to Europe. He opened the Scandinavian Mixed with a 74 to lie outside the top 100, but grafted his way to T12th and then added ninth last time out in Detroit. He played Renaissance for the first time last year, finished T30th and an improvement is well within his grasp because he’s got an excellent record by the Scottish seaside. He finished first and third (in this event) at Castle Stuart, he was second at Archerfield (next door to this week’s course), he’s been second (last autumn) and third in the Dunhill Links, sixth at Murcar Links and, in his last 10 starts on Scottish links, has seven top 20s.




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Matt Cooper
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