The Open Championship Preview

Written by @Matt_Cee for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

The British Open | Thursday 18 July - Sunday 21 July | Muirfield

This year, the Open Championship will return to Muirfield for the first time since 2002. The visit to what is arguably one of the best courses in Britain has generated excitement amongst golf pundits across the world. Most are quick to point out that the course always produces a high class champion, a statement backed by the fact that only multiple major winners have won here. Amongst those who have had the pedigree to win are Ernie Els and Gary Player, a fact most South African golf fans will be aware of. The course will play 7,245 yards in length this year and renovations have seen the introduction of deep greenside bunkers which will ensure a premium is placed upon accurate approach shots. As can be expected with most links courses, accuracy off the tee will be important and on a course which could be battered by strong winds, only those who have the ability to avoid the thick heather surrounding every fairway will survive. So will we see an upset in the form of one of golf’s rising stars win this year’s instalment of the tournament or will one of the old guard prove the experts right? Let’s have a look.


To Win Outright
Tiger Woods  9/1
Justin Rose  20/1
Phil Mickelson  20/1
Adam Scott  22/1
Graeme McDowell  25/1

VALUE BETS
Graeme McDowell (25/1 a win, 5/1 a place)
Graeme McDowell will have what it takes to handle this tough links course and if the weather is rough and the wind is howling, he will feel more comfortable than most out this week. Although he missed the cut at both the Masters and the US Open, his form of late has been impressive and it would appear he’s come into form at just the right time. He’s known for his smart course management, a trait that will certainly go a long way in assisting him navigate this tricky terrain, and his driving accuracy and ability to scramble inspire a lot of confidence. At 25/1 this week he looks a great bet.

Dustin Johnson (40/1 a win, 8/1 a place)
If ever there was a player who deserved to win a Major, it’s Dustin Johnson. There have been at least three occasions over the years that have left golf fans holding their heads in despair as he’s thrown away perfectly good opportunities to win and I’m sure the one most will remember is his infamous final day 82 at Pebble Beach in 2010, where he defined the term meltdown. Despite this, he’s got the temperament to overcome these setbacks and with a solid record in this tournament, which includes three top 15’s in the last three, he should go far here. He deserves a win, let’s hope he gets close this year.

Thomas Bjorn (66/1 a win, 13/1 a place)
Bjorn has yet to win a Claret Jug but he’s come close on numerous occasions, having managed no less than five top 10’s in his Open career. These finishes include a 2nd at St Andrews in 2000 and another in 2003, where an unfortunate spell in the 16th bunker at Royal St Georges put an end to his hopes of winning. He’s yet to win in 2013 but don’t let this take away from his other achievements, which include numerous top 10’s and two second places. A win here is a bit of a push but Hollywood are paying six places and at 13/1 a place you can’t go wrong on Bjorn.

TOP BET: Charl Schwartzel (35/1 a win, 7/1 a place)
South African golf is on a high at the moment and what better way to carry forward that momentum than with another South African Major victory? In a lot of ways, Schwartzel appears to have what it takes to handle a tough links course: he is one of the best ball strikers in the game, a skill that will go a long way in keeping on the fairway and away from the bunkers and he has what it takes to handle the strong winds that could well sweep across this course. If he can hold it together for four rounds and make those birdies he’s narrowly missed a few times this season he will go far here. Each-way looks the way to go on Schwartzel.


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