I prefer to call this event "The Open Championship", as it rightly is dubbed, but I've discovered that more people perform a web search for the British Open. So I'm a slave to web traffic, sue me.
This year's rendering of the classic event is to be held at Turnberry, not the most frequent venue in the rota, but one that's produced some notable winners, namely Watson, Norman, and Price. Playing at just over 7,200 yards to a par 70, the course has undergone some changes since last held here in 1994. Most evident are some added bunkers and green enhancement will serve to increase the challenge that is links golf, a unique challenge, especially when Mother Nature rears her head, a distinct possibility in these parts of the world. Weather, (read rain), and wind can change the character of this contest and turn it into an exercise in survival rather than a comparison of perfect golf shots. Turnberry is one of the few where errant shots can land in the sea. Pebblesque you might say.
That all said, let's boil down the field and pick some possible winners. I'll handicap the top 17 with current odds supplied by Ladbrokes, noted betting house, with more than a vested interest in this event, the quintessential European contest. Ready? Let's get going......
Tiger Woods, 3:1 - What can you say? World's best, smallest odds. Only negative, never played here. Practice rounds this week will have to suffice. Game transitions to links rather well. Should win.
Sergio Garcia, 21:1 - Don't understand the 2nd least odds. Not exactly peaking. Could win I suppose. Probably won't.
Ian Poulter, 26:1 - Like him better than Garcia. That makes him a could win without the "I suppose."
Lee Westwood, 26:1 - Overdue for a major. Bit of a home field advantage with no name Scots in the mix. Might win.
Padraig Harrington, 26:1 - Going for 3rd consecutive British. Too bad he's slumped of late. Great time to break out. Won't however.
Rory McIlroy, 26:1 - Extreme talent. If in contention will have to deal with pressure cooker. Will win plenty, just not this one.
Anthony Kim, 34:1 - Not sure he can adjust his ball flight downward in expected wind. Better on target courses. Won't win.
Hunter Mahan, 34:1 - Last round was a 62. Coming into his own. May very well win.
Henrik Stenson, 34:1 - I figure him as a contender whenever/wherever he tees it. Needs to overcome major hump. Split on Henrik, not sure.
Jim Furyk, 34:1 - Can't ever overlook him. Don't think he can, but wouldn't surprise.
Martin Kaymer, 34:1 - Coming off a win last week. Brilliant at times. It's possible.
Paul Casey, 34:1 - Should be one of the favorites in my opinion. Could win.
Ernie Els, 41:1 - Maybe the Ernie of years ago. Not this Ernie. Won't win.
Geoff Ogilvy, 41:1 - Rather pedestrian year so far for Geoff. Still, if you can win one major....... Could win.
Ross Fisher, 41:1 - Nice player. As close to a home game as he'll get. Can't win, but wish he could.
Retief Goosen, 41:1 - Surprised to see him this far down the list. Game's coming around. Major wins in his resume. Could win.
Steve Stricker, 41:1 - Strick just won. Coming in hot, but a couple days late to see the course. Possible, but doubt it.
2009 Open Championship Full Field.
Average Golfer makes his selections.........
1. David Duval
2. John Daly
3. Paul Goydos
Dark Horse Picks
1. Graeme McDowell
2. Angel Cabrera
3. Thongchai Jaidee
*** Winning Picks, Top Three ***
1. Tiger Woods
2. Lee Westwood
3. Hunter Mahan
There you have 'em. As usual, free, gratis. Consider them a part of my repaying a debt to society.
Bet early and often.
*Average Golfer aside.......Make a bundle! Nick Faldo goes off at 2001:1