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    Can St. Andrews maintain up in opposition to trendy golf?

    Justin Thomas was out at St. Andrews for a apply spherical on Sunday.

    Getty Photographs

    1. The Open Championship, the 12 months’s closing main, is right here, and there’s no scarcity of storylines. It’s the occasion’s a hundred and fiftieth anniversary. Tiger is taking part in. So is Phil. And on and on. What are you most wanting ahead to taking part in out throughout the pond this week?

    James Colgan, assistant editor (@jamescolgan26): I feel the story of the week is Tiger Woods taking part in in what might very nicely be his closing Open at St. Andrews as a severe competitor. The Outdated Course is Tiger’s favourite on this planet. It’s flat sufficient for him to stroll with out difficulty. It’s the form of place through which psychological benefits are usually extra vital than bodily ones. It looks like Tiger’s complete 12 months — and possibly longer — has been constructing towards this week. It’s arduous to overstate the importance of this occasion for probably the most vital participant within the historical past of the game.

    Sean Zak, senior editor (@Sean_Zak): I’m most wanting ahead to my coworkers arriving! However on a severe be aware, James is right. Secondarily, I’ll sit up for Rory McIlroy’s opening 66 Thursday afternoon, adopted by a 68 Friday morning.

    Xander Schauffele capped off a remarkable three weeks with a win at the Genesis Scottish Open.

    3 weeks, 3 international locations, 3 wins: Xander Schauffele shines at Genesis Scottish Open

    Dylan Dethier

    Dylan Dethier, senior author (@dylan_dethier): That is one week the place the stakes set themselves. It’s the Open at St. Andrews! That’s the story! But when we’re diving into the small print of this match itself I’m desirous to see how Xander Schauffele, arguably the most effective golfer and not using a main, fares coming off a red-hot stretch that features wins in two consecutive PGA Tour begins.

    Josh Sens, senior author (@joshsens): Within the trendy period, golfers who’ve finished nicely at Augusta have tended to do the identical on the Outdated Course. All of which is to say that it’s prolly not a foul thought to throw just a few shekels on the likes of Scottie Scheffler, Cam Smith, Jordan Spieth and, yeah, in all probability Tiger, and see if current historical past repeats.

    2. Jordan Spieth, in an interview throughout the Scottish Open, was requested if he thought St. Andrews was “too straightforward,” to which he replied: “However I feel if it’s prefer it was this morning out right here, it’s only a wedge contest, actually.” Spieth added as a part of one other reply that he didn’t suppose the foremost was in any means lessened, and that if the climate kicks up, the thought is moot. Does Spieth have some extent: With trendy know-how, might a St. Andrews Open flip right into a chipping contest?

    Colgan: Completely. If the wind doesn’t blow, we might see a winner at-or-near 20-under. However does that reduce the scope of the occasion, or the golf course? In fact not. Everyone seems to be competing in the identical area, beneath the identical stakes, for a similar prize. Is profitable a ‘wedge contest’ any much less invaluable than profitable an iron contest, like we noticed on the U.S. Open? I feel not.

    Zak: It’s form of what everybody doesn’t wish to admit, proper? Hopefully it will likely be windy, after which we will overlook about it till the subsequent Open. But when it’s not, we might have to only rip the band-aid off as soon as and for all with a severe dialogue of rolling again the ball. The Outdated Course, as a bodily property, doesn’t have way more bend to it.

    Dethier: We’re going to see plenty of wedges, for positive. We see fairly just a few each week! Low scores are all however assured; we’ve seen loads on the Outdated Course throughout Dunhill week in recent times. This week might be an excellent check of the way it stands up beneath affordable climate circumstances with major-championship preparations. I’m predicting plenty of purple numbers, however a agency, quick St. Andrews will nonetheless be a delight, even when they go low.

    Sens: It’s a bummer what trendy gear within the palms of the most effective gamers has finished to plenty of traditional programs, not simply this one. With out some difficult climate, we’re not going to see the form of calls for that make the Open Championship so nice when it’s at its greatest. In that sense, yeah. It may be too straightforward. However all the things is relative. Somebody continues to be going to must go decrease than everybody else, which is difficult.

    3. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are taking part in their first main collectively since … the November Masters in 2020. Given their ages and the truth that the Open seemingly received’t be performed at St. Andrews for not less than one other 5 years, Golf Channel’s Shane Bacon raised an attention-grabbing thought by suggesting that Woods and Mickelson be paired collectively. What do you suppose?

    Colgan: The TV govt in me says hell sure, however the realist in me is aware of it received’t occur. The R&A is much too prideful to topic itself to what might develop into a particularly high-profile LIV sideshow.

    Zak: Completely not . The R&A doesn’t do side-shows. Simply ask Greg Norman. Pair Tiger up with Kurt Kitayama and Sam Burns. 

    Dethier: Nah. As James talked about, we don’t know that we’ll see Woods again right here with an opportunity to contend. He’s loads of draw on his personal. (Who am I kidding — he would possibly nicely win right here in 2027.)

    Sens: The one means they get paired collectively is that if their scores name for it after the minimize.

    4. The Scottish Open, received by Xander Schauffele, was the primary co-sanctioned occasion between the PGA and DP World excursions, with gamers from each side additionally filling out the sphere on the Barbasol Championship, in Kentucky. Are you a fan of those co-sanctioned occasions, and are we more likely to see extra of this collaborative strategy as LIV Golf continues to draw extra gamers?

    Colgan: If co-sanctioned occasions result in a extra constant PGA Tour presence within the UK and Eire, I’m ALL for it. It’s ridiculous to me that the Tour travels to TPC Deere Run yearly, whereas programs like Muirfield, Carnoustie and Portrush go unseen for years on finish. It’s time to convey hyperlinks golf again to the Tour.

    Zak: These co-sanctioned occasions are going to be very important to each excursions. They need to co-sanction the Irish Open subsequent. And the BMW PGA Championship after that. If the alliance is as robust as Monahan and Pelley say it’s, that may assist show it.

    Dethier: Co-sanctioned occasions are inherently invaluable in and of themselves. But when they will appeal to robust fields in attention-grabbing locales? I’m all the way in which in. Elevating the Scottish Open as a pre-Open hyperlinks check was completely excellent. Solely critique: I’d like to see it journey to some nice linksy exams.

    Sens: Agreed. Co-sanctioning issues if it will get as lots of the prime gamers as potential collectively in a single place. And I do suppose we’ll see extra. It wasn’t talked about a lot explicitly this week, however the subtext in plenty of the dialog (14 of the world prime 15 are right here!) made all of it really feel like alliance-building in opposition to an outdoor assault. There might be extra.

    5. Final week additionally noticed a possible flip in feeling from Rory McIlroy relating to the LIV Golf risk, when, in an interview with the BBC, he stated he believed that golf’s governing our bodies must cooperate to discover a answer. “I feel at this level if individuals are eager to spend that a lot cash into golf, that’s great. I simply want that we might have spent that a lot cash throughout the construction that has existed for a lot of many years in golf as a substitute of being an enormous disruptor.” Do you see all events — the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf — ultimately coming to the desk? Or has that ship sailed?

    Colgan: The one desk I can see the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf convening is in a courtroom.

    Zak: Something is feasible, in fact. However an excessive amount of vitriol has handed between Norman and Monahan that I simply can’t see it. Ship: sailed. 

    Dethier: It is sensible in concept, however I’m unsure both facet presently has a lot incentive to cooperate. LIV is feeling highly effective, however the PGA Tour nonetheless has all its present equipment and little to realize from negotiating. Until that adjustments, I’m unsure what there’s to speak about. However I don’t suppose the golf world at giant essentially agrees with the three of us.

    Sens: Is it actually “great” that individuals are keen to spend that a lot cash on skilled golf? It undoubtedly adjustments issues. However in case you’re going to pour cash into golf, different elements of the sport might in all probability use it extra. Simply because LIV is now pumping billions into an expert tour doesn’t imply that it’s rational or merited.

    Tiger Woods

    Tiger, Phil … and a ‘wedge contest?’ This may very well be one wild Open week 

    Nick Piastowski

    Skilled golfers have been getting paid fairly nicely already. Is it robust to interrupt in? Completely. May you need to sleep in your automobile and fly coach and spend years battling in opposition to the chances? Certain. One of many causes it’s extraordinarily troublesome is that the potential monetary rewards are astronomical. You don’t just like the tradeoff, select a distinct profession. There are loads on the market which can be a lot harder and pay an entire lot much less. Now that I’m finished digressing, to the query: think about a world the place LIV retains drawing prime expertise and the Saudi circuit will get OWGR factors, permitting everybody on LIV to proceed getting enormous assured paydays whereas additionally nonetheless having a crack on the majors. If that got here to cross, the Tour would possibly very nicely want/wish to sit down on the desk. However would LIV wish to negotiate at that time?

    6. GOLF Journal and simply unveiled its first-ever High 100 Programs within the UK and Eire rating with — shock, shock — the Outdated Course at St. Andrews headlining the listing. However there’s no scarcity of nice golf throughout the pond. What’s your favourite UK or Eire course you’ve ever performed? (Or, in case you haven’t made it there but, what’s No. 1 in your want listing?)

    Josh Berhow, managing editor (@Josh_Berhow): Portmarnock Golf Membership. It was the one course I focused once I visited Dublin just a few years in the past, and I used to be blown away by how a lot I loved it and the way playable it may very well be for an Common Joe like me. I knew it had nice historical past and topped iconic champions from when it hosted extra professional tournaments, however the enjoyable issue was off the charts. It had blind photographs, enjoyable (however doubtlessly devastating) swales, and I even obtained to play a handful of holes in howling winds. That I’ll always remember.

    Colgan: Simply two weeks in the past, I fell deeply and irrevocably in love with Scotland on the West Hyperlinks at North Berwick. It was my first spherical within the outdated nation, and the entire universe appeared to conspire to offer me — and my taking part in companions Sean and Simon — with a day we’d always remember. The chilly, harsh climate I’d been instructed to anticipate broke simply minutes earlier than our tee time, and we spent the afternoon bathing in heat daylight and a mild breeze. In a phrase, the course is elusive — concurrently straightforward and difficult, easy and sophisticated. It’s additionally attractive, snuggled cozily in opposition to the coast. Our day was excellent. The sort that makes you are feeling lucky to like golf, even in case you don’t fairly consider your eyes. After our spherical, a member overheard it was my first full day in Scotland, and turned to me with a chuckle. “You’re at a loss, aren’t you?” I nonetheless am.

    North Berwick Golf Membership

    Graylyn Loomis

    Zak: I hate to take the straightforward route, however this week, I’ve to. No course stays in your mind longer after you’ve performed it than the Outdated Course at St. Andrews. It simply lingers. The 112 bunkers so completely warp your mind. The double greens provide you with one thing you’ve seemingly by no means seen earlier than. The routing makes you are concerned in regards to the wind always. It’s easy and damn-near excellent. 

    Dethier: Ardglass, a intelligent gem on the east coast of Northern Eire. The clubhouse is a fortress constructed within the 1400s. The course itself has the character to mirror that depth of historical past. Epic views across the rocky shoreline yield the most effective sensation in golf: that you simply’re headed out for an journey.

    Sens: Cruden Bay in Scotland is my favourite. However since that’s excessive on plenty of lists, I’ll take the brief skip down the coast to a sleepier spot: Royal Montrose. A few years in the past, lengthy earlier than Donald Trump grew to become president, I used to be interviewing him by telephone about Trump Aberdeen, his new course in Scotland.  It so occurred I used to be on my option to Scotland for a journey story. Trump instructed me that if I needed to play the course, I ought to completely, positively name him, as a result of the place was so jammed, I’d by no means be capable of get on it in any other case. I would wish his assist. There was no different means. “Name me,” he stated. “Otherwise you’ll be out of luck.” 

    A few week later, I drove previous Trump Aberdeen. The place seemed candy, for positive. Because it occurred, although, there have been additionally loads of open spots on the tee sheet. After getting over my shock that Trump had embellished the reality, I stored driving south, about 40 miles. I used to be following the recommendation of Donald Metal, a former top-flight newbie turned architect who has labored on or consulted with each course to carry an Open Championship. Metal had urged me to go to Royal Montrose. Regardless of its ‘royal’ designation, Montrose is an understated place, one which escapes the discover of plenty of golf nuts on  a pilgrimage to Scotland. Metal stated that individuals who missed it have been committing an oversight. He was proper.

    Montrose sits alongside the coast in a city of the identical title, a sneaky-great course that builds in drama as you go, rising and falling alongside the dunes. As with Trump Aberdeen, there have been loads of spots on the tee sheet once I obtained there. I walked proper on, performed alone, charmed by all of it. Afterwards, I grabbed a beer at a close-by pub. There was nonetheless daylight, so I walked over to Montrose and performed once more. I wouldn’t name Montrose Scotland’s best architectural marvel. However I can’t advocate it extremely sufficient. Tons of linksy character. Not a whiff of pretension. And a reminder of simply what number of nice spots there are to hit throughout the pond, even in case you don’t have a robust contact to get you a tee time at a big-name course.

    dylan dethier

    Dylan Dethier Editor

    Dylan Dethier is a senior author for GOLF Journal/ The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a 2014 graduate of Williams School, the place he majored in English, and he’s the writer of 18 in America, which particulars the 12 months he spent as an 18-year-old dwelling from his automobile and taking part in a spherical of golf in each state.

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