Jul 07, 2015 | 09:25 am

Odd Open Odds

Incredibly, despite a ruptured ankle that has him on crutches, Rory McIlroy remains an 8-1 shot to win the Open Championship at St. Andrews next week, according to British bookie Ladbrokes. (The smart money says he’ll soon announce his withdrawal from the championship in which case anyone who has bet on him will get a refund.) Meanwhile, McIlroy has been displaced as the favorite by his closest pursuer in the world rankings, Jordan Spieth off at 5-1 odds. Spieth has played in only two previous Opens, finishing 36th and 44th, has played just one round on the Old Course, and has opted not to scout the course this week, instead playing the John Deere Classic where he notched his first pro victory. Should he finish in the top six there and go on to take the third leg of the Grand Slam at St. Andrews, he’ll take over McIlroy’s perch as world number one. Meanwhile, and also somewhat surprisingly, one of the top touts for victory next week is Tiger Woods at 25-1 alongside Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. Woods, now ranked 226th in the world, has not had a top-10 finish in a tournament since 2013. But he showed signs of life last week at the Greenbrier Classic, and does have some major kharma going for him—two Open Championships won at the Old Course.

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Jul 06, 2015 | 09:50 am

Scotland For Sale

First Turnberry, now Gleneagles. The iconic Scottish resort—which hosted last year’s Ryder Cup and has been welcoming guests since 1924—has been sold. Owned for the last 31 years by Diageo, the worldwide conglomerate best known for liquor brands such as Tanqueray gin, Captain Morgan rum, and Guinness, the resort was reportedly sold for £150 million (about $230 million) to a private investment company called Ennismore, which already runs a small group of boutique hotels. Plans are for a “significant” investment in “one of the world’s most prestigious and recognisable venues.” The 2014 Ryder Cup was played on the PGA Centenary Course, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus; Gleneagles also features two James Braid designs, the King’s (above) and Queen’s, which opened in 1919. Other activities include shooting, fishing, and falconry, as well as a spa and lessons in dog training.

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Jul 02, 2015 | 10:44 am

Old Tom at St. Andrews

Five-time Open champion Tom Watson makes his final appearance at age 65 in the 144th playing of the tournament at the Old Course, just as Jack did in 2005 and Arnie did in 1995. Most "Champion Golfers of the Year" are exempt till age 60, but the The R&A granted special extensions to Arnie, Jack, and Tom so they could say farewell at the Home of Golf. The organization also produced the nice video above of Watson with some rare footage inside the Royal and Ancient Golf Club's clubhouse where his five claret jugs are on display and he recounts the "Duel in the Sun" with Nicklaus at the 1977 Open at Turnberry. With his T7 at the U.S. Senior Open on Sunday, Watson is playing more like the Tom of old instead of Old Tom, so don't be surprised if he makes the cut and delays his goodbye on the Swilcan Bridge to the final round on Sunday.

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Jul 01, 2015 | 09:42 am

Tilly Splendor

Golf course architecture fans will definitely want to catch the final round of the PGA Professional National Championship today at Philadelphia Cricket Club on Golf Channel at 2pm eastern. Keith Foster restored the A.W. Tillinghast course in 2014 and the result is absolutely stunning, as you can see in the aerial video above, as well as in the club's restoration video (also read our story in the January issue of HotLINKS). Most noticeable is how open the course is and how much definition there is to the holes now. The greens, bunkers, and tall, blond fesuce just pop off the TV. While watching today, be sure to notice the "Great Hazard," a collection of 13 bunkers on the 7th hole, and the fescue-covered hill to the right of the 15th green that was previously hidden by trees. Philly Cricket sure has a lot to chirp about.

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