Open Championship time is upon us. Iconic St. Andrews is the site, a stellar field contends for the oldest of golf's crown jewels. Once again we'll link Ladbrokes' odds and insightful commentary to assist you in turning a profit on this year's Open.
No fewer than 15 previous champions will compete with odds ranging from 6:1 for Tiger Woods to 1000:1 for Sir Nick Faldo. Of note for Woods is his decision to switch putters this week, moving to Nike after his long affair with a Cameron Titleist Newport II. Woods claims longish putts on slower greens this week necessitated the change. As typical of St. Andrews the weather will determine the week's scores. The course is noticeably more lush than one would expect. A lack of wind will render the old girl defenseless due to it's Walmart parking lot sized fairways. Any hint of solid wind however will force players to hit shots they usually don't need leading all sorts of unpredictable results and a higher entertainment factor for us watching at home.
Which leads us to what we came for, an expert look at player's chances. This Average Golfer believes that St. Andrews rewards experience. Local knowledge, particularly regarding the insanely large greens, goes a long way toward crowning a champ. Some putts this week might better be served with a wedge shot. From 30 yards most players have more experience with a wedge than rolling a 100 ft.+ putt. Enough jabber, here's what we came for....
Tiger Woods, 6:1 - Why? He's Tiger Woods of course. 5 years ago they would have just handed him the trophy here and forsaken the formality of playing 72. That was then... Could win. Best major shot on this course.
Phil Mickelson, 16:1 - They say his game's not suited to links golf. I say with his length and these wide fairways, Phil could destroy par here. Could win.
Rory McIlroy, 16:1 - Power, precision, links experience. Would be nice to have him in contention on Sunday and see if his nerves hold up. Could win.
Lee Westwood, 20:1 - Finally won on US tour. Seems logical here. Everything lines up. Could win.
Ernie Els, 20:1 - Better year. Still something about his manner that concerns me in the big ones. May be the "Big Too Easy". Possible. Don't see it though.
Padraig Harrington, 25:1 - Spending the year fiddling with his game. Don't make the mistake of counting him out here though. Knows how to put the ball in the hole, which can't be learned from a swing coach. Possible.
Justin Rose, 25:1 - Hottest player in the field. Win would validate all the potential. Definitely could win.
Graeme McDowell, 33:1 - Popular pick coming off Pebble "links type" victory. Great all around game. I think US Open hangover will get him. Won't win.
Ian Poulter, 33:1 - Hard to argue against. Seems pressure immune. Different type of pressure on Sunday though. Possible, not probable.
Luke Donald, 40:1 - Another Brit on the upswing on relative home turf. Putter and short game could win it for him.
Paul Casey, 40:1 - Not as hot as Donald, Rose, or Westwood. Don't see it this week.
Martin Kaymer, 40:1 - On the cusp of a big win. Lots of Euro experience. Still, don't think so here. Too many Brits to overcome.
Steve Stricker, 40:1 - Has the short game and putting prowess required. Knockdown shots in wind may be suspect. Really a target golfer. Won't win.
Jim Furyk, 50:1 - Has the tools and moxie. Not usually a stalwart on this side of the pond, for whatever reason. Won't win.
Retief Goosen, 50:1 - Puzzled by Goose. Not reason not to pick him, but hasn't come through lately. Has everything required for this event. I'm leaving him a question mark.
Ross Fisher, 50:1 - Another in the Euro resurgence. Possible, not likely though.
We stopped at 50:1 for space considerations. Regardless, there's a host of other players with a chance and some with take notice odds for the risk takers among you. Examples, Villegas, 80:1, Schwartzel, 80:1, Tim Clark, 80:1, Stenson, Choi, Adam Scott, defender Cink, and Angel Cabrera, all at a lip smacking 100:1.
Survey the field and open your wallets. Then sit back and enjoy Bet early and often.
Average Golfer 2010 Open Championship Picks
1. Justin Rose
2. Padraig Harrington
3. Ian Poulter