The season’s third Major championship, The Open, kicks off this Thursday at the Royal Liverpool Club, Hoylake. The season previous two majors have much been dominated from start to finish, by Bubba Watson at the Masters, and more recently Martin Kaymer’s dazzling US Open victory. But this Major Championship will be different, as Tiger Woods enters his first Major since returning two weeks ago from back surgery. For only a handful of events in the last decade, Tiger doesn’t enter as favorite. That honor is held by Rory Mcilroy and Justin Rose. Rory has had yet another mixed season, with glimpses of brilliance, but has struggled to put four good rounds together to regain his dominance of 2012. Rose on the other hand is the form player on the planet. He has won his last 2 starts, including last week’s Scottish Open. We look ahead to see who makes our top tips to hold the Claret Jug come Sunday.
Sergio Garcia is on the list of the greatest players to have never won a major championship, but will that end this week? He came so very close in 2007, as he entered Sunday with a 3 stroke lead, but eventually lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. This year, Sergio is having a solid, if not spectacular year. He started the season by winning the Qatar Master’s, and currently lies 12th on the Race to Dubai. On the other side of the pond, he has amassed 6 top 10’s on the PGA Tour, including 2nd at the Travelers Championship and 3rd at the Players Championship. He also leads the PGA tour in scoring average, at 69.11. At 25/1 he’s a good price and has a real chance to final win his 1st major Championship.
2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson, heads into the week coming off a 2nd place finish at the John Deere Classic, at TPC Deere Run, Illinois. Like Sergio he started of his season with a victory, at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Since then he has made 90% of the cuts, and has 5 top 10 finishes, which leaves in 10th in the FedEx Cup Standings. He had his best finish at last year’s Open Championship finishing a tie for 6th place. He ranks 5th of the PGA tour for All Round Ranking, and that will be key for success at a difficult course. He’s currently paying 50/1 to take home his second Major Championship.
World number 17 Graeme McDowell, enters this week having won his last start at the Alstrom French Open. The Northern Irishman is no stranger to links having grown up in Portrush, the future home of the Open Championship in 2019. On the PGA Tour, Graeme has 5 top 10’s so far this year, including a 7th Place finishes at the AT&T Open. He’s been extremely hot with the putter this year, and sits first on strokes gained putting on the PGA Tour. With a combination of form, and skill set for links golf, we like Graeme’s chances at 28/1.
Our outside tip of the week is Danny Willett at 100/1. Danny has been recovering from a shoulder injury, but as of late he is really found his feet on the European Tour. He has 3 top 15 finishes in his last 3 starts, including a 3rd place finish at the Irish Open, and more recently 11th at the Scottish Open. Danny had his best career finish at last year’s Open, finishing in a tie for 15th. His strong finishes at links courses, only poses well for this week.