‘In America, we call that a hurricane’: Chaos is coming to Scottish Open

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on Saturday on the 13th hole at the Renaissance Club.

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Hang on. 

That’s the message for you, the Scottish Open viewer; and you, the Scottish Open player. And why’s that?

First, the former bunch. Sunday is for you, should you prefer your golf ruthlessly rocky, with scores potentially high and shots possibly all over the yard. (Though, you may have to wake up waaaay early; more on that in a sec.) But you’re just watching. As for the souls who actually have to suit up at the Renaissance Club?

Literally hang on, gents. With wind gusts expected above 40 mph in North Berwick, the landing toward determining a winner in the final round could get wobbly, for you and your golf ball. 

“You’re talking gusts 30, 40, 50 mph,” analyst Trevor Immelman said Saturday during CBS’ broadcast of the third round. 

“In America, we call that a hurricane when it gets to 50.”

Indeed. Of course, this is the Scottish Open, and Scottish golf isn’t played in a bubble. Nae wind, nae rain, nae golf, the saying goes. 

Still, this could get extra nasty. According to accuweather.com, there will be rain and 33 mph winds — with 43 mph gusts — at 3 p.m. local time, around the time when the final grouping of leader Rory McIlroy, Tom Kim and Tommy Fleetwood were to have teed off — and now when they’re expected to finish. On Saturday, the decision was made to move times forward, and the last threesome will now start at 8:57 a.m. (If you’re stateside, that’s 3:57 a.m. ET, so better go with the large coffee cup.) 

At which time, the forecast will be better, relatively speaking.

Rain, 23 mph wind and 37 mph gusts. 

“I think ‘hectic’ is a pretty good way to describe what tomorrow will be like,” said Scottie Scheffler, in response to whether Sunday could be hectic. “… Just try to execute shots. You can’t really control the elements. I mean, who knows what the weather is going to be like here. Today we thought we would be playing in all different kind of stuff.

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“Just try to stay patient and hit good shots and be committed to what you’re doing. When you get that much wind, it’s really out of your control and all you can do is you’re trying to hit it solid.”

A few things to note here. According to Immelman, the Renaissance Club has been prepared, and the greens have stopped being cut; had they not been, balls would blow into the Firth of Forth. And golf has been played in the elements before — coming to mind is last year’s Players Championship, where gusts were also around 40 mph — so expect (somewhat) friendly pins. 

And, who knows, it all might be kinda … good? 

“I think it’s great,” Kim said. “Obviously last year was really tough obviously with the wind. So kind of curious how hard it’s going to be. But I feel like when the wind blows, you’ve got to have a lot of patience and be mentally tough. Tomorrow is really a round where whoever really wants it the most, and I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge.”

Ian Baker-Finch, another CBS analyst, said much the same. 

“It’s a great experience coming out here and playing these wonderful links courses, in whatever the weather. Have to play lots of different shots — keeping it low, bumping and running, getting it out of the wind, slower greens.”

Of course, he’s in the booth.  

Editor’s note: The live Sunday broadcast will be shown from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. ET on golfchannel.com and pgatour.com; and from 6 a.m. to the conclusion on cbssports.com and pgatour.com. The tape-delay broadcast will be shown from 10 a.m. to noon on Golf Channel; and from noon to 3 p.m. on CBS.   

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.