Genesis Scottish Open - Day Four
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Plenty is amiss with the PGA Tour schedule these days, but this upcoming two-week stretch of golf in Scotland is not among the issues. The Scottish Open, which starts Thursday at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick and is followed by The Open Championship next week at Royal Troon, is as fun of a fortnight as we get these days in professional golf.

There are innumerable reasons this is the case, but there are five in particular that stand out when considering this stretch of summer golf.

This has not always been the case for the PGA Tour. It used to go straight off the John Deere Classic into The Open, but starting in 2022, it began co-sanctioning the Scottish Open alongside the European Tour.

It has been one way the PGA Tour's alliance (now framework agreement) with the European Tour has paid dividends and provided value. The European Tour has some awesome, historic tournaments to show off, and the PGA Tour can provide the fields. That is what has happened here with the Scottish Open, and it marks a wonderful stretch of golf in the middle of July.

Here are five reasons these two weeks in Scotland are among the best in pro golf across the entire year.

1. Different style of golf: Is it jarring to go from Silvis, Illinois, to North Berwick, Scotland? Absolutely. But it is such a nice reprieve to see the monotony of the domestic PGA Tour schedule broken up by some semi-links golf at Renaissance Club and then some true links golf at Royal Troon. For the most part, courses are not stars on the PGA Tour. But they should be. Or rather, they can be. This time of year proves that, and it adds depth and context to the tournaments that are being played. 

2. (Almost) all the stars: Scottie Scheffler will not be at the Scottish Open, but that is the only massive absence in this cast of characters. Players have started turning up at Wimbledon over the last several days as they begin to trickle in for what should be such a terrific few weeks. This is tantamount to the West Coast stretch when golfers play Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach back to back or TPC Scottsdale and Riviera, but it's not something we get for the majority of the year.

3. Weather that engenders creativity: Remember that Rory McIlroy shot to win the Scottish Open over Robert MacIntyre with a birdie-birdie finish in 2023? It's not the type of shot that's seen in American golf because American golf does not bring about the same kind of weather. The wind was absolutely howling that day, and Rory hit a 2-iron about 75 yards shorter than he normally does right to a distance where he could win the tournament. Any conditions that stir up creativity and thoughtfulness in the best players is always a bonus and substantially improves the events that are being played.

4. Open season: If you have been following for any length of time, you know how much I enjoy opens. Whether it's the Spanish Open, Scottish Open, Canadian Open, South African Open or The Open Championship itself, almost all of them have a historical weight that almost all other events do not. Part of that is their meritocratic nature -- anyone can theoretically play their way into and win these events -- which goes at least a little bit against the closed-off signature events that the Tour has chosen to highlight over the past two years. 

This openness mixed with the natural romance of Scotland makes for an alluring, compelling two weeks of golf, and the bigger fields create the opportunities for showdowns like McIlroy-MacIntyre down the stretch last year at the Scottish Open. Perhaps not a fabulous matchup on paper, but it certainly became one when considering the implications of MacIntyre winning his home open and McIlroy trying to add to his illustrious resume.

5. The sounds of summer: As No Laying Up pointed out last year after this video of McIlroy dropped, there is nothing like the sound of a flushed long iron on the hardpan Scottish turf. We'll get plenty of it over the next two weeks at the Renaissance Club and Royal Troon, and all of it should be wonderful.