Golf betting history will be made in The Open Championship when the last golfer to win the Claret Jug at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club starts at the longest odds that he has ever been to take out a major since turning professional.
Tiger Woods won the 2006 Open Championship by two strokes from Chris DiMarco, with Ernie Els another three shots back in third place. Woods turned professional in 1996 and not since his amateur days has he traded at pre-major odds bigger than the 26.00 available from Bwin and Ladbrokes.
Bookmakers are reporting that Woods, who has played in 13 Open Championships as a professional for three firsts and another six top 10s, including third in 2012 and sixth in 2013, is absolutely friendless with punters. Woods has taken part in only five PGA Tour events this season and he missed the cut in the Quicken Loans National a few weeks ago. Woods has done many remarkable things, particularly winning the 2008 US Open with an injured left knee, but that was his latest major triumph and six years is a long, long time.
One is willing to overlook Woods even at his record-breaking odds and bet elsewhere on the Open Championship. No major tournament lends itself to trends better than the one that takes place outside the United States of America.
The key statistical pointer is that Open Championship experience counts for a lot. The majority of recent Open Championship winners had played in the event at least six times and posted at least one top-six finish. Ben Curtis was the last Open Championship debutant to triumph and in 2003 he broke a 28-year run of first timers failing.
Factor in the usual mix of course form, recent form and, for one of the big four events, major form and one can come up with a short list of Open Championship contenders, at the top of which is the world number one, Adam Scott.
Justin Rose is a false Open Championship favourite with the majority of bookmakers. Rose announced himself to the world in the 1998 Open Championship, finishing fourth as the low amateur, but his record in his home major has been dreadful ever since, missing the cut four times out of 11 and never placing inside the top 10. Rose has won each of his last two events and one is not interested at backing to make it three in a row. Rose would be longer odds if he were not British.
Scott would be the clear Open Championship favourite if he held a British passport instead of an Australian one. Scott finished eighth in the 2006 Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, ending every round in the top eight. Scott is an Open Championship veteran who has been second and third in the last two editions of the event. Scott won the 2013 Masters Tournament and he has recorded a total of eight top 10s in the 14 majors dating back to 2011. And Scott won three starts ago and he is fresh after taking a month off. Scott is available at odds of 17.00 with several bookmakers, including Bet365, Paddy Power and William Hill.
Other golfers for the Open Championship short list include Henrik Stenson, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els <— Tipped earlier in the week as overpriced outsiders.
Stenson did not light up the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in the 2006 Open Championship – he finished 48th – but he has made giant steps since then and he ticks every other box. Stenson has made the podium in three of his last five Open Championship appearances, he has not finished below seventh in any of his last four tournaments and he loves the big stage, as evidenced by his form figures of 18-21-2-3-14-4 in the six major events since the beginning of 2013. Stenson is trading at odds of 17.00 with a wide range of bookmakers, including 888sport, Boylesports and Totesport.
Furyk was fourth in the 2006 Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club – one of two top-five finishes in the event over the last eight years – his recent form is sound and he knows what it takes to contend for a major. Garcia and Els are links golf specialists whose talents one outlined in a recent article. Furyk is available at odds of 71.00 with BetVictor.
To win the Open Championship
Begins 17th July
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