Rolex Series

Genesis Scottish Open: Commentator's Column with Anthony Wall

As the Rolex Series resumes at The Renaissance Club with the 42nd edition of the Genesis Scottish Open, co-sanctioned with the PGA TOUR for the third time, two-time DP World Tour winner Anthony Wall writes our Commentator's Column.

What I’ve always liked about this event is that the best from around the world, including America, come to play. I’ve got memories of playing with Tom Lehman and Ernie Els among others. For me, it was a chance to really test yourself against the best which was something that you didn’t always get the chance to do. From my debut in 1999, it was a thrill to be honest and in Loch Lomond back then you were playing what I feel was one of the best courses around.

Now, moving onto today, the event has just got bigger and better with the co-sanctioning with the PGA TOUR. It is perhaps easy to say, but it really does have the feel of a Major Championship. The infrastructure is quite incredible. There are so many of the top players here – four of the top five, six of the top ten and 13 of the top 20 in the world.

Players are playing a proper golf course at the climax of Major season. It’s no surprise to see this event producing dramatic finishes and the best playing the best.

People don’t realise that Rory McIlroy’s ball for his second shot into the 18th green last year was in a divot. It was a phenomenal shot under pressure. That’s done because he’s one of the best players that has ever lived. He plays for this time of the year.

Players want to peak at this point in the campaign, a week out from The Open.

Before The Open, a player wants a balance. You don’t want to play a Carnoustie and get beaten up or play a venue that doesn’t have a links feel to it. While The Renaissance Club demands certain fundamentals of links golf, it shouldn’t beat you up really. That’s why, in part, the field is so strong. Players know that even when conditions are bad, it is very playable. Whether it is the players on the DP World Tour eyeing up Race to Dubai points or those from the PGA TOUR looking to move up the FedExCup standings, everyone wants to win. While that is the case, half of the field will inevitably have an eye on The 152nd Open at Royal Troon.

For me, the Scottish Open is always the perfect preparation ahead of going into a bid to win the Claret Jug. With the conditions as they are set to be, I think there is going to be a nice wind, it is great preparation for the players. When you see the level these players are playing at, you realise just how much the game has moved on. It is quite incredible.

You want to drive the ball well this week. You can guarantee the rough will be up off the fairway. You want to be able to cope with mid irons and thereby be able to control your ball flight. You want to have it on a string, playing a 7-9 iron more often than not if possible. With the undulations around the greens, you need to be leaving chances to hole a putt from around 15 feet and not requiring to get up and down on this Tom Doak design.

Tom Kim is someone I’d expect to enjoy a good week. I walked with him last year and he performed well – finishing in a tie for sixth – and he was also third at this venue on his Rolex Series debut in 2022. He’s proved himself on the global stage and has returned to form over recent weeks on the PGA TOUR. He would be one that I don’t think many will be looking at but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see him in contention.

I actually won one of my two DP World Tour titles across the road from The Renaissance Club at Archerfield. I did well at The Open at St Andrews in 2015 too so I’ve enjoyed the challenge of links golf. I like seeing the ball running to the flag, the disciple that demands of you. As a player, you always do try and get ready for certain times of the year.

While short, the period in Britain during the summer has historically and will continue to be a time when you want to do well every year. I enjoy the history of the game, it will forever be important to me. This time of the year, which previously included the Irish Open, was always a time I looked forward to. My son is at St Andrews and my other is at Stirling University. It just seems to be in my family that we like Scotland.

I'm no longer playing on Tour, but I love my job now, and I get to work with some greats of golf broadcasting. They’re such great fun to be around, and they have a wealth of knowledge.

I am going to be playing some seniors golf next year and the prospect of that is harder to get ready for as it will mean being away from commentary and I do really enjoy my job. I’ve made some great fairways walking the fairways in recent years since retiring from the DP World Tour. It’s kept me involved in the game and I’m incredibly grateful for that.

Several players come to me for bits of advice now too, and I am pretty fair and logical with how I see and say things.

Only last week, Marcel Siem asked me to have a look at certain things in his game and that was days after winning in Italy. Joost Luiten and James Morrison are a couple of other players who I’ve given a helping hand to. It is only since I have stopped playing, you realise the career you built. I played for 23 years without losing my card. If I had realised that while I was playing, I might have done better! But it is nice that people respect the career I’ve had as a player and they hear and see me as part of commentary teams.

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