The highlight of the golfing season is almost upon us. In a weeks time the Open Championship will be coming to its conclusion and one skillful (or lucky) man will be lifting the claret jug above his head in triumph. The question that is on everyone’s lips is which man of the 140 odd competitors is going to be completing their life ambition? Well here are my 5 picks for the 2013 Open Championship.
First off I’d like to point out that the 5 picks are going to be based on a combination of their ability, form and bookie odds.
All odds are from Bet 365 and are subject to change.
Tiger Woods 8/1
The greatest golfer of his generation (by a mile) and possibly the greatest golfer ever always makes lists of people to watch in the Major Championships and there is a simple reason as to why this is, he is just that damn good.
Woods hasn’t won a major since the 2008 US Open which seems quite incredible but he has had personal life problems as well as major injury concerns to do with his legs and knees.
This year however Tiger has already won 4 times on the PGA tour (including the Cadillac Championship) and has a 4th in the Masters (which could have been better if it weren’t for an unfortunate drop) to his name. Tiger is the man on form this year, he is number 1 in the money list and all he is missing to solidify that is a major victory.
There are some concerns about his game with some people questioning whether or not he still has the bottle to win a major when the pressure is on. It is an interesting point and people will keep asking the question and will become louder about asking the question the longer it takes Tiger to win one. Are the questions about Tiger losing his game unfair? Yes they are because he just came back from multiple major surgeries, but it is the criticisms about his mental state that are the most concerning. His driving was always erratic but his chipping and putting used to be very consistent, this however is no longer the case and that is the major concern.
Muirfield is not a course where you can have erratic play, and chipping and putting as well as hitting fairways is a must. If Tiger is on it he is the deserving favourite for the tournament but if you get the Tiger who looks like he has lost his game again then it could be disastrous. However at 8/1 (when Tiger is usually around 3/1 or less) you are potentially getting a bargain.
Luke Donald 25/1
I swithered about not putting Luke Donald in this list because I don’t think for his form that 25/1 is good odds. However I decided to do it because I think Donald has the perfect game for Muirfield.
This year Donald has done well within the majors with a 25th at the Masters (a course that doesn’t suit him) and 8th at the US Open (a course that does suit him), and it is that performance at the US Open on a course that requires similar course management skills to Muirfield that makes me think that Donald has got a legitimate chance.
As I have already said 25/1 are not great odds for Donald based upon his form of the current golfing season but if he is to win the Open then Muirfield is his best chance of doing so.
Brandt Snedeker 35/1
The 2012 FedEx cup winner is my personal pick for the winner of The Open this year. The current world no.7 (earlier in the year no.4) has had a solid year without being spectacular, winning the Pro-Am at Pebble Beach.
So far this year Snedeker has achieved a 6th in the Masters and a 17th in the US Open and then add to that a 3rd at last years Open Championship and you have the formula of a man who is ready to take the next step and win his first major championship.
There are concerns about Snedeker of course, he has never won a major before and at last years Open bottled it after an excellent first 2 rounds (still finishing 3rd).
Snedeker looks like he is ready to take that next step but maybe he is not but if you want a solid and consistent golfer that is definitely worth an each way bet then Brandt Snedeker is the way to go.
Jason Dufner 66/1
Another American for the list, Jason Dufner in many ways is very similar to Brandt Snedeker, he is consistent and is definitely worth an each way bet.
Dufner has finished top 4 in 3 of the last 7 majors and has finished no lower than 31st in the last 7 either. Dufner made a charge on the last day of this years US Open only for a triple bogey to take him out of contention as he pushed to close the massive gap from the previous 3 rounds. He is Mr. consistent and is also able to play a low scoring style of golf which could make the difference between winning and losing.
Dufner does have issues though, his attacking style of play can cost him as he pushes too hard and drops needless shots. He has also been in a winning position before at the 2011 PGA Championship but blew a 5 shot lead with 4 to go, leaving questions about his bottle and ability to finish off the job. Dufner has also only made the cut at one Open (2012) and only managed to finish 31st.
To put this all in context I would say that I (before looking at the odds) would have though that Snedeker and Dufner would have been somewhere similar in the odds, with Snedeker slightly edging it. Snedeker however is 35/1 and Dufner is 66/1 and at 66/1 Dufner is an absolute bargain. I am not sure if Dufner has the bottle to win the Open (who knows maybe he does), what I am sure of is that he is an exciting and consistent golfer who could easily post a score early and fall into the Open Championship. If you are looking for an each way bet that has a outside chance of winning the crown then Jason Dufner is your man.
Martin Laird 100/1
The man I hope wins the Open (or Paul Lawrie, or anyone who is Scottish really), Martin Laird is the home country boy that everyone would like to see win. The 2013 Texas Open champion has been on solid if not spectacular form so far this year.
Laird is very much an outside bet and the 100/1 odds show that the bookies are of similar thinking. However there are reasons to be hopeful; Laird this weekend finished 5th in the Scottish Open, a tournament that is played in a links course in Scotland much like this years Open Championship. He will have the crowds support as they search for the first Scottish born winner of the Open since 1999 and Paul Lawrie.
Sadly there are also reasons to have major doubts about Laird’s chances of winning the Open. Laird has never finished in the top 10 of a major, with his best finish being 20th, not exactly great. His Open record however is even worse having only made the cut once (2012) and on that occasion finishing 72nd (approximately last of those who made the cut) is certainly nothing to write home about.
However at 100/1 you would be betting Laird each way and hoping that the Open throws up an unusual winner as it has had a tendency to do in the past.
There you go my 5 men to watch for this years Open Championship. In the Open at times you could almost throw a dart at a list of names and choose whoever it hits because the tournament has a tendency to throw up unusual major champions.
Anyway leave a comment as to whom you think is in with a chance and lets hope for a great week of the greatest golfing competition in the world.