Golf Handicapping: 5 Golfers to Win the Open Championship

 

Best Open Championship Bets

Professional golf’s third major of the year gets underway this Thursday with the first round of The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool G.C. in Hoylake, England. For the first time this season, golf’s most famous player, Tiger Woods, will tee it up in a major after missing both The Masters and US Open while recovering from recent back surgery.

The betting odds for this year’s Open Championship, which is also known as the British Open, list Woods as a 18/1 fifth-favorite to win this week, but most of the value is lost due to the fact that the betting public routinely drives down his odds regardless of current form. The following are my Top-5 golfers that do have the best chance to win this week in relation to the value in their odds.

Luke Donald 40/1

Luke Donald remains one of the longest-standing members of the “best golfer that has never won a major” club that nobody wants to be a part off. Nonetheless, he is always a threat to win in any event that is played in his native country, and he showed some signs of life earlier this year with a second-place finish in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in April. Current form remains strong with a 16th-place finish at last week’s Scottish Open.  Donald has finished fifth in The Open Championship twice in his career (2009 and 2012), but a bit of value could be lost after missing the cut in last year’s event.

Graeme McDowell 25/1

As one of the up-and-coming European golfers that hail from Northern Ireland, Graeme McDowell is another solid contender that should feel right at home in this week’s surroundings. He missed the cut at this year’s Masters and battled his way to a 28th-place finish in the US Open last month at Pinehurst No. 2. However, current form has remained sharp with a victory on the European Tour in the Alstom Open de France just two weeks ago. This will be McDowell’s 11th appearance in The Open Championship, with his best finish coming on 2012 when he tied for 12th.

Phil Mickelson 20/1

It would be hard to leave Mickelson off of this list even though his odds also get driven down by the reaction of the betting public. A strong showing at last week’s Scottish Open (tied for 11th) gives me renewed hope that he can successfully defend last year’s Open Championship title that he won at Muirfield. He did miss the cut back in April at Augusta, and he placed 28th in the field in June at Pinehurst, but you can never rule out someone that has placed in the Top 2 of this tournament in two of the last three years.

Rory McIlroy 14/1

Rory McIlroy remains the kind of golfing talent that you have to pick and choose your spots to bet on him to win, but he remains the kind of golfing talent that you do not want to bet against, especially on a course that is so close to home to his native Northern Ireland roots.It has been a rough go of things the past few years in The Open Championship ever since he posted a third-place finish in 2010, but I am more encouraged by McIlroy’s current form in majors that includes an eighth-place finish in this year’s Masters and a 23rd-place finish in last month’s US Open. He had a fairly productive week in the Scottish Open with a 14th-place finish that included a final-round 67.

Justin Rose 14/1

If you believe that history will repeat itself in this week’s Open Championship after Mickelson went into last year’s event fresh off a victory in the Scottish Open, then Justin Rose is your man this week. He won last week’s event at Royal Aberdeen by two strokes with a third-round score of 66 followed by a closing round of 65 to seal the win. Rose and McIlroy have the best odds in the field to win this week, but from a value standpoint the edge has to go to Rose. He is another native of England that should feel extremely comfortable at this year’s course, and he has been red hot since posting a 12th-place finish at Pinehurst with a win at Congressional at the end of June in the Quicken Loans National before this past week’s victory.

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