2014 British Open Betting Preview 8 years ago

2014 British Open Betting Preview

It all tees off at Hoylake in the ungodly hours of Thursday morning. Here's who we think has a shot at taking home the Claret Jug.

Are you ready for about forty hours of Peter Alliss wittering on about some old duffer you've never heard of, shots of people drinking tea from flasks and a smattering of actual golf? Good, because the BBC is going to town on the 2014 British Open this year. Superb news if you are a golf fan, not so much if you aren't, but then if you aren't you're probably not reading this.


The best bit of this wall-to-wall coverage is that you will probably get to see a lot of whichever golfer you back, not always a privilege afforded to you during the US Majors. However, that is only a pleasure if your guy is doing well, so that is where we step in, as we try to find you a winner from the field of 156, and maybe a few decent EW punts too.

You have to start with Rory McIlroy. I watched him at the Irish Open and he didn't seem that tuned in, missing the cut by one stroke in perfect conditions. We know that he doesn't favour windy weather, but the forecast for this week doesn't look too bad. So, is he value at 20/1, his biggest Major price in quite a while?

His British Open record is not good, though McIlroy did finish third in 2010. The big worry is his propensity to flop on Fridays, witnessed most spectacularly last week in the Scottish Open, where he followed a course record 64 on Thursday with a 78 the next day. And it is a trend too, as this stat from Sky shows.


There is little doubt that if Rory arrives in The Wirral in the mood, he should leave with the trophy, but you just have to wonder can he stay in the zone for four full days. Wayward driving, especially into fearsome fairway bunkers, will be very costly around this tight course and when Tiger Woods won here in 2006, he only drove the ball twice over four rounds, preferring to sacrifice distance for accuracy.

McIlroy will have to do the same but that level of discipline is a big ask for any player, and especially one who has shown such alarming dips in form. We'd love to be wrong, and God knows we are a lot, but we just can't see Rory being in control for four rounds.

That brings us neatly to Tiger. As we said, he won at this track in 2006 but a hell of a lot has happened since then. This is Woods' first Major of the year after missing the Masters and US Open through injury and the concerns over how he has recovered from his back operation remain. He missed the cut in his comeback event and you just have to imagine even the great man will be too rusty to win come Sunday.

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Tiger's record in this tournament is scary good, even in recent years, as he was third in 2012 and sixth in 2013 so the odds of 20s are very tempting, but we'll pass this time.

With the big two out of the running, at least in our eyes, who do we fancy? The field is stacked with potential winners, of which we really fancy our own Graeme McDowell. Priced at 25s, his relative lack of punch off the tee won't be as keenly felt on this course. His accuracy onto the fairways is priceless here and his come from behind win in France a fortnight ago showed his putting might be back on track, the area that probably cost him a run at the Irish open crown. At that price, he is worth a few quid to win in our book.

Another former major winner to reckon with is Justin Rose and he is now the favourite at 14/1. His win at Aberdeen last week was hot on the heels of a win across the Atlantic at Congressional, so can he complete a rare hat-trick of wins?

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Yes, his Open record sucks, with no top 10s in 11 tries, but remember we thought he would be a nearly man of golf like so many of his compatriots before he landed that US Open title. A win this weekend would make Rose the World No 1, and we certainly are not ruling it out.

Phil Mickelson (25/1) finally won a British Open last year but his shocking lack of form this year makes us nervous, while Bubba Watson (50/1) has never shown the game to do well on links, so we are definitely avoiding the Masters champ. Jordan Speith, at 33/1, is a real talent but in his first British Open he may struggle.

Of all the Americans the one we like most is Rickie Fowler. At 40/1 he is value and his recent form, and previous links play, is worth noting.

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Fifth in the 2011 Open, Fowler has been top five in the two other Majors this year, a sign of increased maturity in the 25-year-old. Last week in Scotland Fowler shot a 68 and a 65 over the weekend to claim a Top 10 and we really think he could contend at Hoylake.


Now for some longer shots, and we'll start with another player who finished his week in Scotland well, Shane Lowry. A sparkling 66 on Sunday was really impressive and at 80/1 he is worth a few bob each way.

So too is another Irish man, Michael Hoey. Only making it in after a great finish at the French Open, Hoey can really play links golf and won the Dunhill links back in 2011. Add in his good recent form and at 150/1, he is worth a small investment.

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Finally, to the man that won the Irish Open at Fota, Miko Ilonen. Not only is the Finn in red-hot form but he won the British Amateur Championship at this course in 2000. Another man priced at 80/1, he could be a very lucrative man to have money on come Sunday evening.