Genesis Scottish Open picks: Who an expert (and golf fans!) think will win at The Renaissance Club

Our expert likes Jon Rahm this week.

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Two words: Rory McIlroy.

Okay, a few more words. He is the only player of the top 15 in the world who will not be on hand for this week’s Genesis Scottish Open.

Scottie Scheffler is signed up. Ditto Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa. Same with Justin Thomas and Cameron Smith. And … you get the picture. For the first time in its history, the event is being co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, and the tournament has drawn its strongest-ever field.

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The course is The Renaissance Club, a Tom Doak design that has staged the Scottish Open three times before, with the title decided in a playoff on each occasion. The course plays to a par 71, at just a shade over 7,200 yards, and though the routing works in part through a pine forest, its firm, fast conditions, and artful contours give it plenty of linksy quirk and charm.

It’s a different game across the pond.

But here at GOLF.com, we’ll be playing a game with which we’re now familiar: the Trifecta game on Chirp.com, a free-to-play mobile platform (and an affiliate of GOLF.com). If you’ve been playing, too, you know how it works: you pick three players, a favorite, a contender and a long shot, all categories determined by the Official World Golf Rankings.

Nearly 1,000 Chirp users have already made their picks, a healthy sample size that gives us a sense of where public opinion is leaning. We’ll share that data below. But first, we’re sharing picks from Andy Lack, a data-crunching guru who doubles as GOLF.com’s expert prognosticator.

Here’s how Lack sees the tournament shaping up.

Favorite: Jon Rahm (OWGR: 3)

If not for a faulty putter, Rahm would be our defending Scottish Open champion. The World No. 3 led the field in last year in tee to green at the Renaissance Club, and he returns this year on the heels of a 12th-place finish at the U.S. Open, where he gained strokes in all four major categories for the first time since January. All aspects of Rahm’s game are rounding into form. I expect him to be firmly in the mix in Scotland. 

Contender: Tyrell Hatton: (OWGR: 28)

Despite struggling recently in the U.S., Hatton has always done his best work across the pond, specifically on links-style courses. The World No. 28 has finished 14th and 18th in two appearances at The Renaissance Club, and, though it was a light-hearted exhibition, the Englishman flashed some form with a third place finish this week at the JP McManus Pro-Am. 

Longshot: Alex Noren (OWGR: 67)

Noren is another player who has shown an affinity for links golf, with four top-20 finishes in The Open Championship. While Noren did miss the cut at the U.S. Open, that was only due to an uncharacteristically poor putting performance. He is enjoying one one of his best ball-striking seasons of his career. Expect the Swede to bounce back at The Renaissance Club.

Those are a pro’s picks. But what about the Chirp-using public?

In the ‘favorites’ category, it’s not close. Scottie Scheffler leads the way, with 31.56 percent of the votes. The numbers drop off severely from there, with Justin Thomas in second place (13.85 percent) and Jon Rahm in third (11.32 percent). Among the contenders, Tommy Fleetwood is the people’s choice. He has 30.49 percent of the votes, followed by Tom Huge (14.65 percent) and Justin Rose (14.38). As for the long shots, fan favorite Rickie Fowler tops the charts (21.44 percent), followed by Matthew NeSmith (12.52 percent) and Danny Willett (12.12 percent).

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Josh Sens

Golf.com Photographer

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.