Originally known as the Society of Golfers at Aberdeen, Royal Aberdeen Golf Club was founded in 1780, and is the sixth oldest golf club in the world. The original layout was on common land between the Rivers Don and Dee. There was a change in name to the Aberdeen Golf Club in 1815 and as the game of golf grew more popular, and with the common land becoming increasingly more crowded the club moved to its present home north of the River Don on the Balgownie Links in 1886.
The Royal Monika was finally applied in 1903, despite Prince Leopold granting it patronage more than 30 years earlier. The course has gone through many redesigns with brothers Robert and Archie Simpson and then Tom Simpson. J. H. Taylor, James Braid and most recently Donald Steel also making revisions.
Royal Aberdeen is a traditional out and back links running along the shore of the North Sea, and many believe this to be the finest first nine holes in golf. The first tee sits by the clubhouse window with the fairway heading straight for the sea, with the following eight holes running parallel to the shoreline, weaving in and out of the majestic dunes.
The back nine is the tougher of the two nines and sits on exposed higher ground, exposed to the elements, but the views of the North Sea are stunning. There is not a weak par 3 on the course, but it will be the 18th that could see plenty of drama come Sunday afternoon.
Royal Aberdeenís Director of Golf, Ronnie MacAskill states, "The 18th is probably the most difficult hole on the course. Into the prevailing wind it is often out of reach even for the low, single figure handicap golfer. With bunkers left and right and the added attraction of out of bounds to the left, a long straight drive is the only option. The second shot to yet another well-bunkered and elevated green is everything in the bag unless you are well through the valley. Very rarely do you find the Club golfer firing their 2nd shot to the heart of the 18th green. A true classic to finish."
My tips to win:
Justin Rose 14/1 will be in confident mood after his recent win at the Quicken Loans National and a part from his missed cut at the Memorial Tournament, Justin has made the Top 10 in four of his last six events, and there was also a twelfth place finish in defense of his US Open title. I think this is a big week for Justin as I fancy him to do well at the Open Championship, and he will want to get off to a solid start over the Royal Aberdeen links.
It's been a strange year for Luke Donald 25/1 and it's hard to see if the lad from Hemel Hempstead is going to get back to playing his best golf this year. After an inauspicious start to the season Luke then went on a run of five Top 25 finishes from six events - one of those a runners-up at the RBC Heritage, and two were Top 10s. And although the Scottish Open is being held at a different venue this year, it is a title that Donald won back in 2011 at Castle Stuart, and a week before the Open Championship, so I expect him to be in the thick of it this week.
I am going to stick with Jamie Donaldson 25/1 again this week. After a great start at the Open De France Jamie dropped off the pace with a third round 74, but came back well to make his second consecutive Top 5 with a 69 which was one of the lowest rounds of the day. Donaldson now sits in third place on the Race to Dubai and he will want another good week before the Open Championship.
My each-way tips:
Thongchai Jaidee 40/1 has been playing some great golf, and I have tipped him as an outside tip from the 'Rest of the World' for the Open Championship in an American magazine I write for. Thongchai has had two other Top 10 finishes since his win at the Nordea Masters, one being his runners-up finish at last week's Open De France, so he will come into this week in confident mood.
I think Stephen Gallacher 40/1 will want to prove to himself that last week's final three rounds were just down to bad breaks. Stephen opened the Open de France with a 66, but it was all-downhill from there for the Scotsman. But I do think playing in front of home support will help give him a confidence boost, and with a win and a recent runners-up finish in the Nordea Masters, I am sure he will do well here this week.
My outside tip:
We had been tipping Fabrizio Zanotti 80/1 with William Hill leading up to his recent win at the BMW International and that win seems to have given the Paraguayan a new found confidence in his golf game. As we pointed out before Fabrizio won in Germany, he had been looking good to breakthrough and was proving a great outside tip, and to see him this high in the betting odds coming on the back of another Top 10 finish, I think he represents great value this week.
As always good luck