Before the British Open, there will be The Irish Open, the French Open and the Scottish Open. With that in mind, we asked our GolfChannel.com writers to offer up their favorite international event (major championships not included).
By REX HOGGARD
After the Open Championship, there is just one international event that has made a habit out of delivering world-class fields and a must-see venue – the Scottish Open.
When the golf world descends on Castle Stuart (pictured above) in Scotland’s extreme north in two weeks the links may look as ancient as any of the old country’s relics, but the windblown layout opened in 2009 and will be hosting its third Scottish Open in two weeks. The genius of Castle Stuart is that it looks like it’s been around for 100 years. And the view gets even better next year when the event moves to famed Royal Aberdeen.
It’s always seemed like the acme of foolishness to host an event in Great Britain or Ireland at someplace other than one of the storied links.
This week’s Irish Open, for example, is being played at Carton House, probably a fine parkland venue, but you don’t flock to Ireland for fine parkland venues. Ditto for almost any of the Ryder Cups played recently in the United Kingdom (see Celtic Manor and The K Club).
For years the Scottish was played at Loch Lomond, another inland leafy layout, and was very much an afterthought on the international schedule.
Since adding Castle Stuart to the rotation, however, the Scottish has become a viable Open Championship tune-up for top players and a must-see event in the United States.
By RYAN LAVNER
I can’t wait for this year’s World Cup.
Admittedly, the Olympic-style tournament has struggled to generate much interest among fans over the past few years, especially after it lost its status as a WGC event in 2006.
But that should change this year, with the two-man team event heading to iconic Royal Melbourne in Australia. That change alone should help lure Masters champion Adam Scott, and you’d think prospective team members would jump at the opportunity to play the Alister MacKenzie gem in late November.
The World Cup also seemed destined to attract world No. 2 Rory McIlroy after it was reported that Northern Ireland could field its own team this year, but the European Tour soon reversed course. No matter.
The 60-player event will feature an $8 million purse, with $7 million allocated for the individual competition, which features easy world-ranking points. This event is must-see TV, especially if Tiger plays.
By JASON SOBEL
I'll take the Aussie Masters, which isn't just my favorite non-major international event – it's also the best.
Each year, the tournament brings out the game's biggest stars. Recent winners include Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter. Greg Norman won a million of 'em – OK, six – back in the day.
And they've won on some of the Southern Hemisphere's greatest courses. Kingston Heath and Victoria have served as recent hosts; this year, things get turned up an extra notch as it moves to the impeccable Royal Melbourne.
Maybe the best part about the Aussie Masters, though, is that it comes well after the traditional golf season is already (mostly) over. Those who follow the game on a week-in, week-out basis have already grown tired of Silly Season events and are ready for something real to start back up again. This tourney provides that – and in prime time for those of us here in the U.S.