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PGA Tour players head to Scottish Open for final prep before Open Championship

Breven Honda

With the 150th Open Championship taking place next week at the Old Course at St. Andrews, some of the world’s top golfers are in Scotland preparing for the final major of the season.

Some of the golfers are in Europe gearing up for the Genesis Scottish Open, a tournament on the DP World Tour that is also being sanctioned this week by the PGA Tour.  

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour has a second tournament this week at the Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

With the strengthening alliance between the PGA Tour and DP World Tour that increased last week, players from the PGA Tour have the opportunity to learn and adjust to the European links course at The Renaissance Club ahead of next week’s Open Championship.

Nine of the top 10 and 14 of the top 15 golfers in the world are in the Scottish Open field this week as first round play begins on Thursday.  

World No. 3 golfer Jon Rahm said he cannot wait for this week’s event as well as the Open Championship.

“Scottish Open being a fun event; it’s a golf course that it is more towards the links side, but there’s some holes that don’t play like it, so you have to get used to it a little bit. Then obviously the following week being 150th Open at St Andrews, right. I’ve said in numerous interviews, I don’t think there’s any higher honor in golf than to be able to win an Open Championship at St Andrews. No matter what edition it is, I think it’s going to be a very special one for all of us.”

Jon Rahm ahead of the scottish open

Here are 10 players who can win this week’s Scottish Open.

Related: Sportsnaut’s PGA Tour rankings for 2022 season

10. Tommy Fleetwood

tommy fleetwood, pga tour
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Fleetwood enters this week after he finished tied for 46th at the Travelers Championship. He also recorded a top-5 finish at Southern Hills for the PGA Championship in May. It was his first top-10 in major since the 2019 Open Championship when he was the runner-up.

With this event involving some the game’s best players and Fleetwood playing with two players inside the top-15 players in the world on Thursday and Friday, the 31-year-old has the opportunity to be in contention on Sunday.

9. Matt Fitzpatrick

The U.S. Open winner has been hovering around the No. 10 in the FedEx Cup standings over the last few weeks, looking to climb the rankings ahead of next month’s playoffs.

This is his first tournament since playing in Brookline, Mass. for the third major of the season. Like Fleetwood, playing in his home country with the two of top-15 players in the world, that should give him an extra bit of motivation.

Also read: 4 takeaways from the 2022 the U.S. Open

8. Collin Morikawa

PGA: U.S. Open - Final Round
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Collin Morikawa has the familiarity of winning on a global stage. Last year, Morikawa took home the Claret Jug for winning the Open Championship and also won the DP World Tour Championship.

Morikawa, who also competed in last year’s 2020 Olympic games, is looking to rekindle what last year brought for the 25-year-old and make a big jump in the FedEx Cup standings, currently in 21st place.

7. Will Zalatoris

Week in and week out, especially on major tournament weeks, golf fans and players alike have seen Will Zalatoris near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.

However, even during the tournaments one week before a major, Zalatoris has been near the top. At the Memorial tournament one week before the U.S. Open, the 25-year-old finished inside the top-5. In his final start ahead of the Masters tournament in April, Zalatoris recorded another top-5 finish at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play event.

In his last eight starts, he has missed two cuts and in his other six tournaments he has finished inside the top-6 each time.

By playing with Morikawa and Fitzpatrick, Zalatoris will be able to feed off the competitive vibes in this group.

6. Hideki Matsuyama

PGA: U.S. Open - Final Round
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Like Fitzpatrick, Hideki Matsuyama has not played in a tournament since the U.S. Open. Matsuyama had the best round in the entire field as he carded a bogey-free 5-under 65 on championship Sunday to record a fourth-place finish.

That energy has the opportunity to travel across the Atlantic Ocean this week.

5. Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler has been riding low since winning four tournaments in a six start stretch earlier this season.

However, Scheffler is still holding the top spot in both the Official World Golf Rankings and the FedEx Cup Standings.

After finishing one stroke behind the lead at the U.S. Open, he also recorded a top-15 finish at last week’s Travelers Championship with a -10 score.

Related: Longest drives in PGA Tour history

4. Jordan Spieth

PGA: U.S. Open - Second Round
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Spieth feels like a veteran because of his winning ways early in his career, despite being only 28 years old.

Spieth had a motivating second round 66 last week during the Travelers Championship, but was not enough to make cut after scoring a first-round 75

Like Zalatoris, Spieth is also in contention of finishing inside the top 10 of the FedEx Cup Standings and with only a month away from the playoffs, a win or top-5 finish this week or at next week’s Open Championship would be huge when he returns to the U.S. for the final leg of the PGA Tour season.

3. Xander Schauffele

No matter the sport, a player or a team wants to see success near the end of the year when the playoffs are right around the corner.

Xander Schauffele has done just that as he has not finished outside the top-20 since missing the cut at the Masters.

In the last two months, Schauffele has two wins along with a top-5 and two top-15 finishes. In addition to his win at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with Patrick Cantlay, the 28-year-old won last week’s Travelers Championship for his first individual PGA Tour title in three-and-a-half years. It was also his first win in six tries while holding a lead after 54 holes.

In addition, Schauffele has already adjusted himself to the European style links courses by winning the two-day JP McManus Pro-Am event after firing a 63 in the first round earlier this week.   

2. Justin Thomas

PGA: U.S. Open - Third Round
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Thomas has not played since the U.S. Open a few weeks ago. However, in two of his last four starts, including the U.S. Open, Thomas has a win at the PGA Championship and a third-place finish at the RBC Canadian Open.

His nine top-finishes this season have kept him in the conversation every single week to be in contention. Tournaments before a major only elevate that conversation as he has two top-5 finishes and a tied for 34th finish before each of the first three major tournaments this year.

In addition to his RBC Canadian Open third-place finish, has a top-5 finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson, a week before the PGA Championship, which he won.

1. John Rahm

Being from Europe, Spain in particular, playing on home-continent soil gives Jon Rahm an energy boost this week on top playing with high competition.

Like Fitzpatrick and Spieth, Rahm is also just out the top 10 of the FedEx Cup standings and a good showing this week and next week’s major puts in good contention not only for these tournaments over the next couple of weeks, but also an advantage at the PGA Tour Championship next month.   

During his preparations, the 27-year-old said he has to maintain every shot and adapt to the different shots around the course.  

“Like every links event, you have to have control over the golf ball and trajectory and just keep it on the ground and be able to understand the nuances of the greens and the fairways,” Rahm said.