The Players to Watch at the Scottish Open

Another major championship in professional golf, the last of 2022, is just around the corner: next week’s British Open at the Old Course in St. Andrews. With Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson expected in the field, along with other marquee names, the quest to win the claret jug should be quite a spectacle.

First, however, comes this week’s Genesis Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick, Scotland. The tournament, with a stellar field of its own — 14 of the top 15 golfers in the world — is also likely to provide some enduring memories.

Here are five players to watch.

Matt Fitzpatrick

It will be fascinating to see what happens from here on with Fitzpatrick, who captured last month’s United States Open for his first PGA Tour victory.

Will Fitzpatrick, 27, follow the path of Danny Willett, another major champion from England — the 2016 Masters — who hasn’t won in the United States since? Willett has registered three victories on the European Tour.

Or will he perform more like one of the game’s greats, Nick Faldo, also from England, who has six majors on his résumé?

Fitzpatrick has the talent to be a factor for many years. His approach from the bunker on No. 18 at the Open, which ended up 18 feet from the hole, was as clutch as it gets. He is ranked No. 10 in the world.

Credit…Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Collin Morikawa

At the halfway mark at the Open, Morikawa, still only 25, appeared headed to a possible third major crown in three years. He won the 2020 P.G.A. Championship and the 2021 British Open.

Then came the seven-over 77 in Saturday’s third round, which included two double bogeys and four bogeys.

After a collapse like that on such a grand stage, some players might not have been able to summon their best effort a day later.

That wasn’t the case with Morikawa. He rebounded with a four-under 66, his second of the week, to finish in a tie for fifth. Morikawa, ranked No. 4, tied for 71st in last year’s Scottish Open.

Credit…Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Sam Burns

With all of the attention Scottie Scheffler has received this season, it’s easy to overlook what Burns has accomplished: three victories and eight top 10s in 19 starts. One of the wins came over Scheffler in May at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas.

Burns, 25, who tied for 18th at the Renaissance Club in 2021, makes his share of birdies, 4.40 per round, seventh among tour players. And while his accuracy off the tee isn’t very impressive — he ranks 134th in that category — it does not appear to set him back as he is 14th in greens in regulation. He is ranked ninth.

Credit…Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Xander Schauffele

Schauffele, 28, was long overdue when he broke through two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut. It had been more than three years since he captured an individual PGA Tour event, the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. Perhaps he will now get on a roll.

Schauffele, ranked No. 11, doesn’t appear to have any major weaknesses. He averages around 305 yards off the tee, tied for 12th in greens in regulation and second in sand save percentage. If there is any aspect of his game that he could improve, it would be converting more putts from 15 feet or longer.

Credit…Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Jon Rahm

Rahm, a former No. 1, hasn’t been in contention that often in recent months. With his enormous talent, that could change at any moment.

Although he won the Mexico Open two months ago, he failed to be a factor in the Masters, tying for 27th, and in the P.G.A., tying for 48th. At the U.S. Open, where he was the defending champion, Rahm was still in the hunt heading into Sunday, but fired a four-over 74 to finish in a tie for 12th.

Ranked No. 3, Rahm, 27, competed in his first Scottish Open in 2021. He came in seventh, only two shots back.

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