10 Scottish Courses That Should Host The Ryder Cup
September 18, 2014
1 of 11No. 9 at Gleneagles (PGA Centenary) / Getty Images
Gleneagles' PGA Centenary isn't in anybody's Top 100, but we know the drill when it comes to the infrastructure required to stage a successful Ryder Cup in the UK: you need a brawny layout with lots of space. Gleneagles isn't any better or worse than other tracks that match that description -- The Belfry (England), The K Club (Ireland), Celtic Manor (Wales). If it were up to us, however, we wouldn't visit any of the above. Here are 10 Scottish courses that the Ryder Cup should be played on.
2 of 11Getty Images
10. Gleneagles (King's)
Hey, we're throwing a bone to the good folks at Gleneagles, who operate one of the 10 greatest golf resorts on the planet, because the PGA Centenary -- the Ryder Cup course -- is only the third best layout on the property. Next time, hold the event on the King's course, a sufficiently sturdy track that's loaded with character and features two gambler's specials down the stretch: the driveable par-4 14th and the gettable par-5 18th.
3 of 11No. 1 at Prestwick / Eric Hepworth
The course that played host to the first 12 British Opens would surely be the quirkiest layout ever to host a Ryder Cup. Its peculiar but memorable collection of blind shots would be sheer joy in match play, and wouldn't you love to see a player with typical Ryder Cup first tee jitters attempt his opening shot as an oncoming train is barreling down the track just steps from the right edge of the first fairway and first green?
4 of 11No. 4 at North Berwick / David Cannon, Getty Images
8. North Berwick
East of Edinburgh sits this fabled links -- at least in architectural circles -- thanks to its 15th hole, the much-copied "Redan," a par 3 played to an elevated, diagonal green. In the memorability department, however, it takes a backseat to the par-4 13th, "The Pit," whose green sits directly behind a stone wall. More than 1,000 Ryder Cup candidates might play tougher, but is there one that would be more fun?
5 of 11No. 11 at Castle Stuart / David Cannon, Getty Images
7. Castle Stuart
This brilliant five-year-old Gil Hanse/Mark Parsinen design was effusively praised by Phil Mickelson -- and that was before he won the 2013 Scottish Open here. Wide fairways, wild and woolly bunkers and eye candy panoramas of Moray Firth and the Scottish Highlands are highlights.
6 of 11No. 3 at Kingsbarns / Matt Ginella
Co-host of the PGA European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and venue forn the 2017 Women's British Open, this 15-year-old Kyle Phillips design 15 miles from the Old Course boasts a world ranking of 55 and the respect of links fans everywhere, who relish such holes that arc around the bay and demand carries over the sea.
7 of 11No. 18 at Carnoustie / Andrew Redington, Getty Images
Dubbed "Car-nasty" for its head-scratchingly hard setup for the 1999 British Open, the 23rd ranked course in the world has hosted seven Opens in all. Yet, it's proven repeatedly it doesn't need any fairway-narrowing gimmicks to be the toughest course on the Open rota. Heather, gorse, jungle-like fescue rough, steep-faced revetted bunkers and the sinuous Barry Burn create havoc in the wind. Captain's picks would revolve around ball-strikers, not putters if Carnoustie were the venue.
8 of 11No. 8 at Royal Dornoch / Matt Ginella
4. Royal Dornoch
Realistically too remote to host the Ryder Cup, we say, "So what? Do it anyway." That's how great the world's 14th ranked course is. After Tom Watson played here prior to his Open defense in 1981, he remarked that the experience was "the most fun I've ever had on a golf course." Donald Ross grew up here, and you can see his affinity for Dornoch's raised plateau greens on his American materpiece, Pinehurst No. 2.
9 of 11No. 8 at Muirfield / David Cannon, Getty Images
Prior to 2014, Muirfield was the only Scottish course ever to host the Ryder Cup, back in 1973. It's high time to go back. The ultimate thinking man's course has identified such Open champions as Jack Nicklaus in 1966, Lee Trevino in 1972, Tom Watson in 1980 and Phil Mickelson in 2013, among others. It's beloved as the best Open test because the routing encompasses breezes from all four directions and the skill and judgement required rewards only the best.
10 of 11No. 3 at Trump International Golf Links / Larry Lambrecht
2. Trump International Golf Links, Aberdeeen
At more than 7,400 yards, it boasts the brawn to demand clutch power and placement from today's breed of pros. It sports the tallest dunes in Scotland and outstanding sea views, making for spectacular television. It dishes out a quartet of rugged, bunker-strewn par-5s. And yes, it would deliver The Donald, making for off-the-charts publicity.
11 of 11No. 14 at St. Andrews (Old Course) / David Cannon, Getty Images
1. St. Andrews (Old Course)
Golf''s greatest team competition should make at least one appearance at golf's most historic course. Talk about a match play venue with superb risk/reward options: Holes 9, 10, 12 and 18 are all drivable, and wouldn't be a blast to see who had the guts to challenge the Road Hole?
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