The Future is "Open" 🔮


"Summer" in Scotland

Congrats to all who were tailing us last week as we took home our fifth outright winner of the season. What a wonderful Sunday sweat watching our horse dust the field with an opening 29 on the front. A smooth 126 over the weekend and we are collecting. Thompson's performance reminds me of the weekend 122 (61-61), I witnessed at the RSM Classic by Ludvig Åberg back in November. The Spieth/Thomas generation better watch out, these kids are for real. How about the amateur Luke Clanton finishing in a tie for second with Micheal Thorbjornsen?!?!? I absolutely love the competition. Let's hope the PGA TOUR sees the storylines developing and builds us a better schedule for 2025. Who wouldn’t want to watch two or three of these kids go after Scottie and Xander? I know I would.

For those who have been with us since the beginning, that's now 31 outright wins in 31 months since we started in January of 2022. Let's continue this two and half year run across the pond at the Genesis Scottish Open. A partnership event between the DP World Tour and the PGA TOUR, we have 156 players in North Berwick, Scotland ready to compete for $9 million and a $1.62 million first-place check. The top 65 and ties make the weekend in this preview for next week's final major of the season; the 152nd Open Championship.

Scottish Open starts in...

Count down to 2024-07-11T05:30:00.000Z

Renaissance men

This is the 42nd Scottish Open. The last five have been contested at the Renaissance Club. Direct neighbors to the "Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers” (Muirfield), the Tom Doak design was created in 2008. Built with American ambition, each of the five Scottish Opens hosted here have been extremely entertaining. The first three even ended in a playoff. The past two have been a part of a collaboration destined to bring the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour together. The last two winners respectively are Rory McIlroy (2023) and Xander Schauffele (2022). Weather is the biggest influence on final score as in five years they winners have ranged from seven under par in 2022 to 22 under par in 2019 (in a playoff).

The forecast calls for rain leading into the championship. This will severely soften the playing conditions. With temperatures in the high 50s, don't expect the seaside links to dry out quickly. Compounding the scoring storyline, very little wind from the Firth of Forth is expected during the tournament. All of this can change in a minute, but if this forecast holds true, look for the winning score to push 20 under par again. The par 70 scorecard only measures 7,237 yards. With five par 3s, three par 5s, and 10 par 4s, players will be making an endless amount of birdies.

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Course conditions

The Renaissance Club

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"How to watch?"

Coverage times

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Real-time weather

North Berwick, SCO

Two of the par 3s are under 165 yards, all three par 5s are reachable with little wind, and half of the par 4s are under 450 yards. Length becomes a huge advantage on links courses when the wind doesn't blow across the landscape. The entire field will get a break from the number one golfer in the world. Scottie Scheffler is not competing in the Scottish Open. Quite honestly, he can take every week off until the playoffs and still be the FedEx points leader! Six wins in mainly signature events and the Masters racks up the units. Rory McIlroy is not just the defending champion, but the betting favorite as well. Xander Schauffele sits a close second on the board, but Rors will be the favorite Thursday morning when we start.

🚨Betting alert - Make sure you place all of your bets by Wednesday night. The Scottish Open is five hours ahead of the United States eastern time zone (New York City).

We haven't seen McIlroy since the US Open. Not only will he have to answer questions about last month, and being defending champion, the Open Championship is next week. Rory hasn't played in close to a month and his last opportunity to break the ten year major drought is right around the corner. Looking for a little McIlroy preview... the last time The Open was played at Troon in 2016, he finished fifth. I expect Rory to be ready this week and in contention. The Renaissance Club is a perfect match for his game. There are a couple others I have my eyes on and you'll learn why in the outrights narrative.

Read The Line recap 🗞️

We witnessed three straight days of beautiful Scottish weather to start the 2023 Genesis Scottish Open. Then a front moved in on Sunday and blew away the field. Robert MacIntyre's incredible final round 64 set the mark for everyone behind him. Unfortunately for the young Scot, Rory went full McIlroy on 18 and hit a 2 iron into the wind from just over 200 yards to inside 10' and made birdie to win. Can those two create another incredible Sunday finish..?

Drive for show, putt for dough

Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy are essentially archetype players for contending at the Renaissance Club. This manufactured modern links design favors length over accuracy in more ways than one. You'll hear an endless amount of coverage about the weather, but in any future forecast the best chance you have to win is to back great drivers and putters. Doak also designed Memorial Park in Houston. Go check that TOUR stop leaderboard from back in March. It was littered with ball speed and birdie makers. The Renaissance Club presents little fear from the tee boxes. Players will be bombing away everywhere they can.

This course ranked in the bottom ten on TOUR for penalties off the tee in 2023. Even the 42 fairway bunkers won't cause concern. Consider the lack of wind predicted, and many of those off the tee hazards just won't be in play. The final two last year were Robert MacIntyre and Rory. Two guys who are great drivers and putters. Everyone remembers the famous approach finale by MacIntyre and McIlroy into a gale force wind. That Sunday was incredibly brutal. Thursday through Saturday the field played in rather benign conditions. Sunday whipped up a storm and blew most of the field away. That's what can happen around here. So as much as we want to load the card with just one type of player, we may need one or two other skill based competitors in case the weather goes sideways.

My favorite skill in golf is approach play. Bombing a drive is great, but there's nothing better for me than a tap-in birdie. Laser-like irons from long range are the best and this Doak design gives you a bunch. Three par 5s to reach in two, three more par 3s over 200 yards, and four par 4s around 480 yards. Those 10 approaches separate the field. Both Xander and Rory can really attack from 200+ yards. Our outrights will be skilled in similar shots. Seventeen greens are surrounded by 38 bunkers. Doak's design also features a number of run-off areas and some long grass around the perimeter of the putting surfaces.

Players have not needed a ton of around the green acumen to contend here. Most of the ground game involves planning the approach properly or the putter. Thankfully, we can break down who the best approach putters are. Approach putting? Who leaves the ball closest to the hole after their initial roll. Since many will use their flatstick off the green, this statistic is very helpful for the next two weeks. Players must avoid three-putting and manage their speed. These greens will be considerably slower than the John Deere, Travelers, and any other PGA TOUR venue they just played. Greens cannot be cut to insane speeds because of the wind. Should it start blowing and the greens are running 12+ on the Stimpmeter balls simply will not come to rest.

We saw putting separate the field at Memorial Park and it happens here as well. Past leaderboards contain a common thread of good links course putters. Notice I didn't say good putters. Slow greens and fescue turf is different from US conditions. It really makes a difference and the primary selection criteria needed to make our card. In the end, there's a large group of guys that bomb it. The group gets smaller when you consider the long iron skill needed, but still not small enough to select a profitable card. Compare putting skill, par 3 scoring (we have five of them), past Renaissance results, and current form and now we're ready to reveal the winning names. Going for two wins in a row, here's our outrights for the Scottish Open.

Outright Winners - Genesis Scottish Open

Ludvig Åberg has missed one cut all season and already earned six top 10s.

  • Åberg is ranked fourth in approach and fifth OTT in this elite field.
  • Ludvig won the Omega European Masters in his third DP World Tour start.
  • Over his last 20 starts, Åberg is gaining over six strokes on the field. 20 starts!
  • He has six top 15 finishes in his last eight starts.

Everyone has been talking about Aaron Rai for a month. At 55-1 on Monday, now is the time to capture his value.

  • Rai is the 2020 Scottish Open champion.
  • Aaron has gained an average of eight strokes on the field over his last five starts.
  • The putter no longer fails him, Aaron has gained an average of 5.5 strokes on the greens over his last three events.
  • Rai is coming off four straight top 20s.

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Inside the ropes at the 2023 Genesis Invitational


The Geneva convention

A week before the men play their fourth major championship of the season, the ladies of the LPGA head to Évian, France to compete in their fourth major championship of 2024; the Amundi Evian Championship. Set on the beautiful Lake Léman between France and Switzerland, this famous body of water is approximately 45 miles long and over 1,000 feet deep. Near the base of the Swiss Alps, Évian-les-Bains, France is approximately 1,500 feet above sea level. The Evian Resort's Champions Course produces some of the most unbelievable golf views we see all year on the LPGA.

It has been three weeks since our last major, two weeks since our last individual stroke play tournament, and one week since some of the field competed in the Dow Championship team event. Needless to say, between travel and financial constraints, the LPGA schedule is anything but fluid. Reminds me of the number one player in the world. Two months ago, we were talking about Nelly Korda making history. Now we just wonder if she can make a cut in a major tournament! Korda missed the weekend at the US Open and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Her stroke average over those two events; 75.

Evian Championship starts in...

Count down to 2024-07-11T05:30:00.000Z

The Champions Course is a par 71 layout measuring 6,527 yards. Over the last decade, the average winning score is 15 under par. The winner this week may not need to go as deep as Lake Léman nearby, but this major does see some scoring. The course has:

  • FIVE par 3s measuring 185 yards on average.
  • Four par 5s stretch out to 524 on average.
  • Nine par 4s ranging from 331 to 437 yards and averaging 390 yards in length.

The Champions Course sits on the side of a hill and at this elevation will lose about 3% of the scorecard length. The longer holes tend to go downhill like the 226-yard par three fourteenth while the short 331-yard seventeenth hole goes straight uphill. Sandwiched by a great par 3 at 16, and closing risk reward par 5 eighteenth, these final three holes have provided plenty of drama over the years.

The current forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-70s to low 80s. The region has been dry until this week. Rain is predicted for Thursday and Friday. Over an inch should fall and that will make this course very scorable. The wind will be no more than a slight breeze. I expect the ladies to go low this week with these conditions. That average score of 15 under will probably get passed. Our outright card reflects major players from this season who can really dial up the BoB% numbers. The last two top 10s produced an average of 20 sub-par scores.

The course almost entirely sits west to east. This direction will provide very few challenging crosswind holes and make target practice even easier for the field of 132 players. The top 65 and ties will make the weekend to play for a purse of $8 million and a first-place check of $1.2 million! Of those 132 who start on Thursday, three players have odds under +2000. That's what happens when the favorite cannot be trusted to take a ton of the handle. The opposite of Scheffler, books don't have faith Nelly can close, so her odds are +1100 and that shortens a number of other options. Eleven women hold odds in the 20s and 30s.

With so many below 30-1, I'm dialing in the research. Over the last two championships, our nine outright selections accrued a WIN, and four more top 10s. Pay attention to the skills needed on this predictive landscape. The last five leaderboards all look alike around these parts. Those who won always seem to contend and most of the contenders have come very close to winning. Local knowledge plays a large part in any player’s success. Keep in mind, watch the clock as all of this takes place earlier than US time. Get those bets and lineups in before bed on Wednesday night.

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Course conditions

Champions Course

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"How to watch?"

Coverage times

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Real-time weather

Évian-les-Bains, FRA

Point and shoot

It’s that time of the season where form always seems to take over. Celine Boutier won the Evian last year and followed it up with another win in Scotland the very next week! We have to keep an eye on those who are performing at a very high level. In 2022, Brooke won just three starts before she took home the Evian title. Comparing course history is important on the Champions Course, but I also want players who are competing at a high level in the last month plus on tour.

On my deep dive through the last two top 10s, I gathered a very good picture of what it takes to contend. This hillside setting is one of the biggest challenges players have over all 72 holes. I don't believe there's a level lie on the entire scorecard. See how it affects the different holes.

  • There are FIVE par 3s to contend with. Players are hitting those par 3 greens 70.6% of the time. They represent 28% of the holes you will play. The 3s go uphill/downhill and vary greatly in length from 155 to 226 yards. 70%+ is a high number. Scoring on these holes is vital to contending and that's why all of our outrights are in the top 20% for par 3 scoring in the field.
  • At Evian, the field only hit the par 5 fairways 58.3% of the time. The average for hitting all thirteen fairways is 70% for the two top 10s studied. Our outrights must be long (and accurate) to take care of the 5s. That's an interesting combination as it clearly tells us being a bomber just isn't good enough on this hillside. Length is an advantage here, but course history and managing the par 5s have proven to be even more important.
  • The key to playing the par 4s is hitting GIRs. Over eighteen holes, the two top 10s hit 76% of their GIRs. On the par 4s, that number drops to 63.2% for the field! Playing well on these varied holes is a huge part of the scoring formula. What's even more interesting is the par 4s average 390 yards in length. The nine par 4s represent some of the most challenging terrain on the course so be careful if you want to contend.

I believe this will become a big accuracy contest. Soft conditions and small targets will create an endless amount of scoring chances for those ladies who can point and shoot. Seventy percent of your fairways and 76% of your GIRs is solid ball striking. Once you reach those greens, the best players convert. Strokes gained putting was just slightly beneath strokes gained approach for impact on those leaderboards. We established how important the iron game is, but the putter needs to perform as well. Our outrights not only reflect those women who lead strokes gained putting, but putts per GIR as well.

If you are going to hit these greens, you must convert. Limited birdie chances place more pressure on the putter. These greens are not difficult to read, but they all sit on the side of a hill. The issue is where you putt from and can you miss it in the proper place. You will see some wild rolls if you keep giving yourself 40' birdie putts. I love this group on our card, because they all play with a very strict game plan. Very rarely will you see these four get out of position. When they do, each takes her medicine and brings it back into play. With so many scoring friendly holes, one can easily get tricked into going for everything.

By now we know who is prepared to win a major this season. This group all rests inside the top 25 T2G players on tour. They can hit their irons and putt. Give them 72 holes and they will separate from this field. Par 3 scoring is one of those places. Play those 20 holes (over four rounds) under par and you will certainly see your name in a sweat position come Sunday afternoon. I love the Evian because the last three holes are really entertaining. I realize the men are playing early too, but if you have a moment to watch the world's finest women in France, I promise you will be entertained.

Outright winners - Amundi Evian Championship

In three starts at the Evian Championship, Atthaya Thitikul has finished fifth, eighth, and ninth.

  • Atthaya won her last start at the Dow Championship, the LPGA's team event two weeks ago.
  • Thitikul is ranked twelfth in strokes gained T2G and a wonderful power player OTT.
  • Fourth in GIRs, she ranks top 40 in every major strokes gained skill.
  • Twelfth at Chevron and sixth at the US Open.

Ally Ewing's ball striking has really started to establish her as an elite player.

  • Ewing is ranked tenth on tour T2G and eighteenth on approach.
  • Ally has four top 5 finishes in a row. That includes a third place at the US Open and fifth at the KPMG PGA.
  • I love that she is ranked third in par 3 scoring. That means she takes advantage of her ball striking skills.
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