Damien Kayat previews the 2022 edition of the DP World Tour's Hero Open taking place at Fairmont St Andrew's.
2021/2022 DP World Tour
The Torrance Course, Fairmont St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland
LIV Golf continues to decimate DP World Tour
It feels like the existential threat of LIV Golf took on monumental proportions this week. Henrik Stenson was set to be European golf’s next Ryder Cup captain (one of the most hallowed positions in world golf).
But he was stripped of the captaincy ahead of his departure to the LIV Golf Tour. To relinquish such a prestigious position for the allure of LIV Golf cash is a really disturbing harbinger of things to come.
The backbone of Europe’s successful recent Ryder Cup history has been eviscerated by LIV golf. Paul Casey makes his debut at Trump National this week, joining former Ryder Cup winners Garcia, Kaymer, Poulter and Westwood.
I personally feel there’s a silver lining for European golf amidst all this chaos.
I think they have become overly reliant on these grizzled veterans in recent times and an injection of youth is necessary to compete with this current American vintage.
Ramsey full of confidence this week
Richie Ramsey held on last week for an emotional one-shot victory at the Cazoo Classic. It was the Scot’s fourth DP World Tour title and first in seven seasons.
He will be full of confidence as the tour heads to his home country for yet another Scottish links adventure. The inaugural edition of the Hero Open was staged in 2020 at the Forest of Arden and it was won by Sam Horsfield (now a LIV Golf practitioner).
The event moved to Scotland last year and Grant Forrest emerged victorious. The event returns to last year’s host venue: Fairmont St Andrews.
Just a word of warning for anyone who hasn’t come to terms with Rory McIlroy’s Open Championship disappointment: this course overlooks St Andrews Bay and the Old Course. Just be mindful of that.
The Torrance Course
The Torrance Course was designed by Denis Griffiths, Sam Torrance and the late Gene Sarazen. It hosted the Scottish Championship on the DP World Tour for a one-off event in 2020. It also hosted the Senior Scottish Open between 2009 and 2014.
The course features spectacular views of the Angus Coast and Carnoustie. Built as a resort course in 2001, it has been reconfigured over the years to make it more palatable to professional golf.
It is a true links layout that offers a host of wonderful risk/reward holes. Approach play has proven to be a key stat in the admittedly small sample size of events played here.
The scoring on this wind-exposed course is hugely contingent on the weather. Grant Forrest won last year in 24-under-par in benign conditions.
It is always essential to look back at previous links experience in these events. It may also behove you to pay attention to those who played solidly at Hillside last week.
Links specialist Ryan Fox was in tremendous form going into this year’s huge Scottish Swing. He had finished third at the BMW International Open and second at the Irish Open.
But a 47th at the Scottish Open was followed by a missed cut at the Open Championship. I think he will be hugely motivated to bounce back this week.
Richie Ramsey will no doubt enjoy fanatical home support following his exploits at Hillside. Elsewhere, the likes of Oliver Bekker and Romain Langasque carry some threat.
This is probably one of the worst fields in recent DP World Tour history and I’m struggling to get overly enthused about it.
2021: Grant Forrest (-24)
2020: Sam Horsfield (18) *Forest of Arden
To Win Outright:
Ryan Fox 11/1 | Richie Ramsay 22/1 | Adrian Otaegui 22/1 | Oliver Bekker 25/1 | Romain Langasque 30/1
David Law- To Win 50/1 | To Place 11/1
Could David Law make it back-to-back Scottish winners of this event? He just made the cut at the Open in an extremely strong showing. It was all the more impressive in the aftermath of a fourth at the Irish Open. Crucially, Law already boasts a win in his homeland, picking up the Scottish Challenge title in 2018. He is striking the ball beautifully and he represents great value in this field at 50/1.
Andy Sullivan- To Win 60/1 | To Place 13/1
These look like very tantalizing odds for the multiple DP World Tour winner. Sure, it hasn’t been the most productive season for the mercurial Englishman. But there were signs last week at Hillside that he could be approaching something resembling his best form (he finished eighth after shooting rounds of 65 and 69 over the weekend). This event looks made for a player who thrives on birdie-fests. He obliterated the field by seven shots at the 2020 English Championship held at Hanbury Manor. This event is of a similar profile and it should suit Sullivan.
The Man to Beat- Ryan Fox- To Win 11/1 | To Place 24/10
Fox makes for a very compelling favourite this week. Arguably the standout player on the DP World Tour this year, Fox is coming off a disappointing fortnight in Scotland. But let’s take a closer look at what he has achieved this season. The 35-year-old New Zealander won the Ras Al Khaimah Classic in February, absolutely blitzing the field by five strokes. He has also finished second at both the Irish Open and KLM Open (as well as a thirrd at the BMW International Open). He is an accomplished links player who should dominant this course from tee to green.