The Open can be especially tough to predict and this year, we have no real crop of favorites standing above the rest.
The 146th Open Championship has arrived. A busy golf weekend that featured the most prestigious women’s major, a senior major, a loaded European Tour event, and a dramatic PGA Tour event, has all passed. While there were plenty of high-quality options last week, all focus turns to England and Royal Birkdale for the next seven days.
The British Open can be a particularly hard major to handicap. The most talented or hottest player in the world can be wiped out simply by luck of the draw. You’ll hear that referenced all week — the draw — because in no golf tournament can your tee time have such an impact. The weather turns in the links golf of an Open faster than anywhere else and is capable of presenting two entirely different challenges in one round. We consistently see one half of a field wiped out from contention due to the wrong end of the draw on Thursday or Friday or both. It does not hold true every year, but it often plays a part in who to pick so pay close attention to the weather if you’re waiting until the last minute trying to play the odds.
On top of that usual British Open fickleness, this is yet another major that appears to be “wide open” at the start of the week. You’ll hear that again and again at these majors but the odds board here seems to back up the old cliche. Dustin Johnson, the favorite, is not even in the single digits at 11/1. We usually get a favorite somewhere down around 5 or 7/1, and Tiger in his peak was a ridiculous 2 or 3/1 to win majors.
DJ slides in juuust ahead of Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth, who are both 12/1 at the start of the week. So yes, this is a major without a real favorite and could be the occasion to have our eighth straight first-time major winner. The game is as deep as ever, with loaded up-and-coming talents, so many of whom were inspired by Tiger, arriving ready to win majors in their early years. And then there are the 40-somethings that can win each and every week, like we saw last year in this major with Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson deciding to play an entirely different tournament than the other 154 players in the field.
There are about 30 to 40 players in this field that you would not be surprised to see win a major championship. We’re that deep right now. It’s just hard to pick the right one on the right week but, hey, if you do enough tweets and articles and podcasts and emails and texts to friends tipping all 30 of them as your guy, then you’ll have your bases covered.
We’ve still got a few days to go before the balls are in the air so things may change slightly during the week. But here are your odds to win at the start of the week in England:
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