The Open Championship will be contested this week at Royal St. George's in Sandwich. It has the distinction of being the first course to hold The Open Championship outside of Scotland. Think of it as sort of a parking lot painted green with thick rough and nasty wind. That should give some idea as to the sort of play required to leave Sunday with the Claret Jug. Let's examine the field and offer perspective on the favorite's chances. Current odds courtesy of Ladbrokes.
Rory McIlroy, 8:1 - Riding, and justly so, on the merits of his US Open victory. Not sure he can hit it low enough if the wind rears. Still, could win.
Lee Westwood, 12:1 - Note that only three players are listed at less than 25:1. That says the tourney is a crapshoot. Westwood's overdue for a major and can handle the conditions. Should win.
Luke Donald, 12:1 - Rightly offered based on his year thus far. Could win, but I see Westwood ahead of him. Easy top ten one would expect.
Martin Kaymer, 25:1 - After becoming World #1 game went south. Experienced enough on links courses to make a decent showing, but won't win.
Graeme McDowell, 33:1 - Lackluster year with tough rounds. Home cooking should help. Possible, not likely.
Nick Watney, 33:1 - Big adjustment from stateside courses. May impress, won't win.
Steve Stricker, 33:1 - Probably best American chance with control game and coming off Deere win. Possible, but would be huge upset.
Sergio Garcia, 33:1 - Odds seem too high with his game rounding into form and familiarity with links. I'll take him at these prices.
Phil Mickelson, 40:1 - Doesn't play well over here due to aerial game. No reason to expect otherwise this time.
Matt Kuchar, 40:1 - Won't win, but steady play may result in top ten.
Charl Schwartzel, 40:1 - Long odds for a major champ. Wouldn't surprise me with top finish. I won't go so far as to pick him to win though.
Jason Day, 40:1 - Never know. International experience. Second in first two majors. Long shot. Possible.
Padraig Harrington, 40:1 - Would be the pick based on experience. Schizophrenic game of late is a concern. Take a flier at 40:1.
KJ Choi, 40:1 - Not my first choice, or even my third. Still, always surprises. Remote possibility.
Dark horses at 50:1+....... Rose, 50:1, Goosen, 50:1, Poulter, 66:1, Manassero, 66:1, Oosthuizen, 100:1, Quiros, 100:1, Ogilvy, 125:1, Jimenez, 150:1, and longest of shots, but undervalued Tom Watson at 500:1.
Average Golfer Picks for The Open Championship 2011...
There you have 'em. Gratis.
Bet early and often.
Remember, they'll make more.