The traders mark you card for who's hot and who's not ahead of Royal Troon
Ah, the Open Championship.
One of the great highlights of the summer season – even if the BBC couldn’t be arsed seeing out the final year of their contract and handed it to Sky Sports instead.
It’s been 12 years since Royal Troon was on the roster (Todd Hamilton beat Ernie Els in a play off) but the west coast of Scotland links offers a formidable test for the best in the business, with plenty of rain forecast.
The front and back nine play in opposite directions, so the wind is with the players on the way out – but against them on the way back in to the clubhouse.
So it could be a bit like a night at Coppers – score early and hold on for dear life.
Who’ll topple the big four in the betting?
Already a Major winner thanks to his USPGA Championship triumph last season, the World No 1 threw away the Bridgestone Invitational last time out with a few very loose shots over the last four holes. The Aussie has a patchy record at the Open and while his was fourth last year at St Andrews (where he just missed a play-off spot) – it was his first Top 25 in the event.
He’s one of the favs we’ll be happy to take on this week.
The form pony right now as he looks for his third win on the bounce after breaking his Major duck in the US Open.
DJ has been exceptional off the tee down the stretch, driving it long & straight and led in driving distance at both Firestone & the US Open and ranked fourth and & 18th in driving accuracy respectively.
His Open record speaks for itself with four top 15s in nine starts and led after two rounds in 2015 before collapsing to finish 49th. With his ability to flight the ball to counteract wind conditions, DJ has an excellent chance to go back-to-back in the Majors and we’re keeping him onside.
For a former winner, Rory’s record is a little patchy for a top player who was brought up on links golf. His win at Royal Liverpool was in calm conditions and a previous third at St Andrews points to a player who needs conditions in his favour to shine.
Macca’s been tweaking his grip which indicates he’s not quite happy with where his game is at just now. Was sent off the 9/2 fav a fortnight ago in France and lead on day two before failing to kick on and had to settle for third place.
McIlroy doesn’t tend to react well to adversity, so with those doubts about his game and the weather likely to be more changeable than a Roy Hodgson team selection – we’re taking him on!
Not having as bad as season as people let on – giving the unbelievable year he had in 2015 when winning the first two Majors.
Spieth threw away the Masters this year (& the Byron Nelson Classic) and has struggled at times although this is generally at courses you would’ve expected him to struggle at.
His third-place finish at Firestone was very encouraging and his all-round game looks to be coming back to where it was. His mental strength and competitive nature is a given and he finished T4 at St Andrews last year.
Spieth is exactly the kind of all-rounder you need and another we’ll be with rather than against.
The stocky South African is made for links golf with his piercing ball flight and excellent putting touch – and his record proves it. Apart from a bit of a blow-out on day three of the Scottish Open (where he eventually finished T29), he’s posted three top-five finishes in his last six tournaments.
A leading fancy and we’re keen on him again this week.
The Spaniard seems rejuvenated this season and has one of the best records at the Open Championship. Finished T6 last season to Zach Johnson and while some doubt his ability to close out – many also thought the same about DJ a few weeks ago. A US Tour winner again after his AT & Byron Nelson victory last May – if he’s ever going to get that elusive Major in the bag – this is the week.
One of the great things about the Open Championship is the variety of markets you can have a bit of fun with. The leader after round one betting always attracts a buzz and the early starters (tee-off Thursday is 6.30am) usually have the advantage with fresh greens and generally kinder wind conditions.
Dustin Johnson is always a fast starter and at can get off to a flyer for the reasons listed earlier. But there’s a couple of others like Rafael Cabrera Bello at (a class act who gets out of the blocks well, is in great form & pushing for a Ryder Cup spot) and Alex Noren (fresh off a Scottish Open win on Sunday and is a birdie machine when he’s on form) who could offer a bit of value against the field.