World Number One Jon Rahm will rekindle his love of links golf this week as he makes his debut at the abrdn Scottish Open, the second Rolex Series event on the 2021 Race to Dubai.
The Spaniard, making his first appearance since his maiden Major Championship triumph at Torrey Pines last month, has a strong record in Rolex Series events with four victories to his name – two of those coming on links courses.
“I am excited to be here,” said Rahm. “It’s a spot in the calendar I haven’t played yet. I haven’t played this golf course but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. After playing it the last few days, I’d say it’s a great track. Hopefully I can put in a good week… it’s very refreshing when we come to this part of the world and play, and I think that’s why I’ve had success.
“I’m very excited. I’m very happy. I always love coming back (to Europe). Sometimes the change in place, change in golf, it’s very needed. It’s refreshing to be here where it’s not a million degrees like Arizona or like anywhere else.”
The 26-year-old headlines a world-class international field at The Renaissance Club, which includes four of the top five on the Official World Golf Ranking and 19 of the world’s top 50.
Returning to Scotland’s Golf Coast this week are world number three Justin Thomas and four-time Major Champion Rory McIlroy.
“I’m looking forward to getting back on the golf course,” said McIlroy. “I was pretty rusty last week in Ireland. I didn’t really do any practise the week after the U.S. Open and it sort of showed in my game.”
“It’s a good test (at Renaissance Club). I think they have added a couple of tees. It’s a bit longer. The rough’s up a bit more than it probably was last time. Maybe players might just get punished a little more for like wayward shots, which is sort of what you’re looking for. You’ve got to stand up and hit some good golf shots and you want to be challenged a little bit. I think the setup this week is pretty good.”
Thomas finished in a share of ninth in his appearance at the Renaissance Club in 2019, and credited his career-best finish of T11 at that year’s Open Championship to his preparation in Scotland.
“My best Open Championship finish came the year that I played The Scottish Open before,” said JT. “So I’m strictly going off of that. I feel like for me, it can’t hurt. It’s not like getting acclimated to links golf, even though it could be a totally different golf course, just getting used to chipping on these surfaces, putting on these greens.
“Basically the stuff I’ve been doing the last three days to try to get used to these conditions is just going to save me then next week, instead of using up Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of a major week trying to get accustomed to the condition and the turf and the speed of the greens, hopefully I’ll be able to do so this week. And then once I get there at St. George’s next week, I’ll be in a little better shape.”
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