JOE’s British Open betting guide
Ahead of the big tee off tomorrow at Muirfield, here’s some, hopefully, good advice on where to put your precious few euro.
With 38 hours of live golf on the BBC over the next four days, it is going to be pretty hard to avoid the British Open. And why would you want to? The only Major you can watch and still have your dinner afterwards, the solo European Major affords those of us in Ireland the most coverage of any tournament and it's a real feast for golf fans.
That the event is being played at Muirfield this year, one of the finest courses on the British Open rotation, only adds to the excitement and that just leaves us with one thing to worry about; who to bet on?
So, here’s some advice that we hope will be financially beneficial to all of us come Sunday evening...
The Irish Angle:
The British Open, after many years of Irish golfers struggling to win what should have been this most accommodating of Majors, was finally cracked in recent years. Padraig Harrington’s back-to-back wins in 2007 and 2008 was followed by Darren Clarke’s magical win in 2011.
So, who can follow in their footsteps this time? For the first time in a long time, Rory McIlroy is not the shortest priced Irish golfer in a Major. That dubious honour falls to Graeme McDowell at 25/1. We’re sure that G–Mac is as baffled as we are with his season, in which in recent months has either missed the cut or won the tournament. He looked superb winning the French Open two weeks ago but we can’t put our hard-earned money on him after two missed cuts in Majors in 2013.
As for McIlroy, his dire recent form explains his price of 28/1. He claimed he was ‘lost’ at the Irish Open and he is famous for disliking the British Open, mainly because of the weather. But with the forecast for Scotland looking superb for the tournament, the climate may just suit him. A bit like G-Mac, could just as easily miss the cut as win, and that’s too risky for us.
With Harrington still looking unable to string four rounds together, we like the look of Shane Lowry to be top Irish golfer at 13/2. The Offaly man is only playing in his fourth Major, and he missed the cut in two of his previous appearances, but he is well inside the top 100 in the world rankings now and he will relish the course. Shaping up to be a real class operator on Tour, he's in with a real shout of contending this week.
The Big Names:
Muirfield’s history of producing first-class champs in previous British Opens (Watson, Nicklaus, Faldo, Player) suggests that the cream will rise to the top this week. And it is very hard to look past the last man to win here, 2002 champ Ernie Els. The South African is phenomenal in this Major, winning it twice, including last year, and racking up 11 other Top 10s. Els is playing well too, winning the BMW last month. At 33/1, he is well worth an E/W be at the very least.
Tiger Woods is well aware of the significance of being a Muirfield winner and he will be desperate to add his name to that gloried list. Claiming to be injury free, and more accurate off the tee, the man who finished third last year might be a real steal, even as favourite, at 10/1.
As for the other top-priced contenders, we really don’t think Phil Mickjelson will ever win a British open, even after his Scottish Open win last week, while a post Major hangover effect may scupper Justin Rose. Adam Scott may suffer from that too and the likes of Luke Donald and Lee Westwood have lost me way too much money over the years to be considered.
That said, we might just put a few bob on another man who we have had our fair share of ripped-up dockets for, Sergio Garcia. With the best strokes gained by putting stats on the PGA Tour this season (seriously) the Spaniard may finally get over the line. He has seven top 10s in this event and at 33/1, he’s worth an E/W bet too.
One of the best parts of golf betting is the long shot who comes in for a tidy place return. It’s even better if that long shot goes all the way, a la Lucas Glover, and you win really big. So, who should we back from out the field this year?
Scottish Open runner-up Brandon Grace is a must for me. At 60/1 we had hoped he would be higher but the South African just looks like a Major winner and it may be sooner rather than later. With Billy Foster on the bag, and with a brace of wins on links courses to his name, the 25-year-old could be the latest Springbok to take the Claret Jug.
Our other long shot is Canadian Graham DeLaet. Five top 10s this year in the US means he is one of the fastest rising golfers in the rankings and he is first in Greens in Regulation on the PGA Tour. No stranger to fierce winds (he’s from breezy Saskatchewan) he should handle anything the weather may throw at him and even though it is his Major debut, we reckon that at 200/1, he has to be a bit of value.
All odds via Paddy Power