The 147th Open takes place at Carnoustie, with the world’s leading golfers looking to land the most prestigious prize of them all – the Claret Jug.
Jordan Spieth is defending the title he won at Royal Birkdale, and he is one of a number of Americans looking to continue their proud history in the Open. Since the turn of the century an American has won the Open on ten occasions.
Many Americans consider Carnoustie the most difficult course on the Open rota, and it is nicknamed ‘The Beast” and ‘Car-nasty’ for good reason.
The Carnoustie effect dates back to 1999 when conditions saw many professionals struggling to break 80 – although this weekend the weather conditions are predicted to be as good as they have ever been during a Scottish-based Open.
More often than not the winner at Carnoustie is a big name in golf. Six of the seven winners at the course have been multiple major winners.
— Carnoustie Golf Links (@carnoustiegolf) July 17, 2018
See below as we run through the tournament for you including facts, odds and picks from our own golfing professional Cliff Jackson and Betfair.
QUOTES: Spieth has taken a number of weeks off to try and recapture some form after struggling at times this year, but he is confident that he can hit the ground running in Scotland.
“I needed a break. I was kind of dragging along, cut-line golf for a while, and playing a pretty heavy schedule, and I needed to kind of get away from the game, which I did. I feel good about the way I did it and the coming back to it,” he said.
“Coming to an Open Championship requires a lot of feel and imagination, and I think that’s what I needed a bit of in my game. I’d gotten very technical and very into making everything perfect instead of kind of the way that I normally play.
“So this week kind of provides that opportunity where you don’t know how far the ball is necessarily going to go off the tee. You need to play the spots, and then you have to use your imagination from there, hold the ball, ride the wind, a lot of different scenarios based on where pins are and the distance that you have.”
Jordan Spieth nailing his driver ? pic.twitter.com/58KLfr5lSj
— Jonathan Yarwood (@JonathanYarwood) July 18, 2018
Justin Rose comes into the Open looking to be the first English winner since 1992, but he has never bettered his Open debut fourth place when an amateur in 1998.
“I’m kind of comfortable with how bad my record has been here,” said Rose.
“It’s nothing new to me, and I don’t feel like there’s a reason for it either. I feel like I’ve created some better opportunities in The Open than my record suggests.
“So I kind of come in here knowing that I can play links golf really, really well even though maybe I haven’t threatened in this tournament as much as I would have liked, but I’ve won the Scottish Open and played well at the Dunhill Links and played well on these type of golf courses. So I’ve come in here as confident as I could be.”
Our resident golf expert is Cliff Jackson. Cliff is a leading youth coach and PGA professional at the famed Seaton Carew Links – one of the oldest courses in the world.
I am really looking forward to this weekend – the Open is special, but this year we have everyone here, and it is always hard to pick a winner but I like the look of Tommy Fleetwood – he loves this course and I think he has a great chance of his first major.
We caught up with Betfair’s Joe Dyer to get their views on this week’s action
The Open Championship betting market is one of the most intriguing of the year. As with every major, the field is as deep as they come, but there are plenty of imponderables that we may only find out once play begins at Carnoustie on Thursday.
Like most of the UK countryside, the course looks absolutely parched and will surely play ultra-firm and fast. The heat could well have sucked the life out of the rough, too, which may be nowhere near as penal as recent Opens.
Will that suit the bombers or will Carnoustie’s many bunkers catch those who try to overpower this awesome Angus links? It will be intriguing to see.
Dustin Johnson is a golfer who can unleash huge drives but he possesses a deft touch, too, and with a respectable Open record and strong current form, he is the right favourite at 11/1 on the Betfair Sportsbook. Each-way punters will get paid down to eighth place at one-fifth of the odds on bets in the Winner market.
At 14/1 Justin Rose follows DJ in the betting, but despite breaking through so famously at Royal Birkdale his Open form is not stunning – sixth in 2015 being his only top 10 of the last decade. Recent results point to some classy golf from Rose, however, and his game management should be a big advantage if Carnoustie lives up to its fearsome reputation.
Next up are the 18/1 trio of reigning champion Jordan Spieth, majors nearly-man Rickie Fowler, and Rory McIlroy. Spieth comes into the tournament in rotten form and it’s hard to justify a bet on him at the prices. Fowler can certainly play links golf and he enjoyed his standard Open warm-up, the Scottish Open, where he finished sixth and this looks a genuine opportunity to break his majors duck. Punters must decide whether 18/1 is a price they want to take about a Rickie win, however. Rory did not impress in the Irish Open, an event he promotes, finishing 28th but there are some encouraging high finishes prior to that and the current lack of wind in the forecast and absence of punishing rough would suit the four-time major winner.
Brooks Koepka could hardly have impressed more at the US Open and has finished sixth and 10th in his last two Opens. The 20/1 looks very backable to this writer.
After Brooks come Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood at 22/1, Alex Noren at 25/1, and a trio of 28/1 shots – Francesco Molinari, Justin Thomas and Sergio Garcia. The latter is a tried and trusted Open lover who would have secured a place payout in three of the last five years and looks the most appealing of the leading contenders.
The big names keep coming! Henrik Stenson – a very solid prospect this week – and Tiger Woods can both be backed at 30/1 while 33/1 grabs you a slice of Paul Casey, and 35/1 is available on Branden Grace, Jason Day and Tyrell Hatton. Masters champion Patrick Reed is 40/1 and Marc Leishman, a real Open lover with a runner-up finish in 2015 and sixth in 2017, is 45/1.
There are of course loads more markets to get stuck into on Betfair and you can find plenty of tips and previews on Betting.Betfair this week >>> https://betting.betfair.com/golf/the-open/
Whoever you back and in whatever market, good luck!