The golf world is preparing for a week more dramatic than an episode of Love Island as The Open Championship tees off at Royal Birkdale.
To make matters more interesting, most of the world’s top players look more out of sorts than Conor McGregor’s wardrobe making the race for the Claret Jug is more ‘open’ than it’s ever been.
With the year’s third Major up for grabs we’ve convinced Paddy to pay a whopping 8 PLACES (at 1/5th of the odds) in the each way betting. However, we need an excellent eight to fill those spots!
So, we decided to pull our traders away from their Happy Gilmore and Legend of Bagger Vance reruns to pick us eight men who could have you shouting ‘get in the hole’ at the TV this weekend. Here’s their tips:
Rickie Fowler – 14/1
The American wonder kid is one of the form players in the world at the moment with four top 10s in his last five tournaments.
Fowler was runner-up at the Open in 2014 at Royal Liverpool and he’s a bit like Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses, in that he always seems to be the bridesmaid when it comes to Major tournament.
The three-time Ryder Cup selection is a renowned links player though, with an excellent record in The Open and it could only be a matter of time before he wins the Claret Jug.
Justin Rose – 18/1
The course Royal Birkdale holds excellent memories for the popular Englishman and he’s back at the venue of his famous performance where, as a 17-year-old amateur, he holed out on the 18th to finish 4th.
Rose showed enough in Ireland, finishing fourth at Portstewart, to suggest he’s back to the form that helped him to an unlucky 2nd place finish at Augusta in April.
He’s a cooler customer than Floyd Mayweather and he might well knockout a victory on home turf this weekend.
Paul Casey – 33/1
With 13 European Tour wins on his résumé Paul Casey still has one ‘major’ question mark hanging over his career, can he win a big one?
He’s shown remarkable consistency this season, highlighted with a 6th place finish at The Masters and even holding the lead at halfway in the US Open.
Casey snagged a top 10 result at Birkdale back in 2008, recovering from a 78 in the first round. Maybe seeing Sergio Garcia’s long wait for success at one of golf’s big four end in March could inspire the Englishman to first-time glory at The Open.
Alexander Noren – 40/1
Word from the course has spread across the Irish Sea faster than one of the Swede’s drives, apparently Noren is absolutely ripping it in practice.
He posted a top 20 finished at Royal Brikdale in 2008, when he was nowhere near the same player he is today.
Winning at the BMW Championship back in May has Noren’s confidence flowing and with a mind cooler than a Swedish winter he may be heading back to Stockholm with the Claret Jug in his hand luggage next Monday morning.
Louis Oosthuizen – 50/1
The 2010 Open Championship winner has proven pedigree on links courses, with a particular penchant for tougher tests.
Much to his delight Royal Birkdale would be right at the top of the most difficult courses in Open rotation.
Oosthuizen’s ball striking has been impeccable over the last three events and it appears the break he took after the US Open has sharpened up his game. He bought himself a tractor after winning in 2010 and his engines could be revving again come Sunday.
Soren Kjeldsen – 100/1
The Dane Looks to be finding some form just in time for The Open netting a top 10 in Scotland last week.
The former Irish Open winner has the stomach for the tougher tests and is a very good player in blustery conditions.
He strikes the ball sweeter than a Danish pastry, so don’t rule him out of having a bite at the prize over the weekend.
Jimmy Walker – 125/1
If you’re looking for a lively outsider Jimmy Walker is your man, after all he’s a former Major champion in case you’ve forgotten.
It was only last July he was holding the USPGA Championship trophy aloft and he’s been playing very consistently this season.
Walker comes in off the back of a strong Sunday at the Greenbrier Classic and the word from the course is very positive. He’s from Texas, wears boots and loves astronomy, so it’s not stargazing to predict him walking off with a win this week.
Tony Finau – 125/1
The big American is on the back of a couple of solid performances the last couple of weeks, with a very impressive ball striking week at the Greenbrier.
Finau is well known for being a very good player when the wind kicks up and his win in Puerto Rico last season was in very testing with conditions, with gusts over 20mph that week.
Don’t expect him to blow over if things get tough at Royal Birkdale.
* All prices correct at time of posting.