A field of nearly 150 players is set to try their luck at this year’s British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.
With over 200 bunkers, a newly lengthened course and the PGA Tour currently on a streak of 15 straight different major winners, predicting the Open Championship winner could be just as difficult as predicting the weather at a British Open tournament.
But that doesn’t mean that certain players aren’t better choices than others.
Whether it’s because of experience playing on links courses, past major victories or a current streak of successful finishes, the Open Championship will still feature a number of golfers who can be considered legitimate contenders.
Here are five of the safest bets to win at Royal Lytham.
Woods heads to the British Open with the best odds of winning after taking the title at three PGA Tour events already this season.
Or maybe it’s his 74 career PGA Tour victories that have led to Woods having the best odds of winning at Royal Lytham.
No, no, it’s his 14 career majors that have led to him having the best odds.
Well, you get the picture.
After passing Jack Nicklaus for second on the PGA Tour’s all-time wins list, Woods will take the course at the Open Championship with an eye on passing Nicklaus in another category.
And with four top-10 finishes and a 67.95 greens in regulation percentage on tour this season, he has become one of the safest bets to win at Royal Lytham.
Not having won a major doesn’t appear to have hurt Westwood’s chances of winning the British Open, as his odds are among the best in this year’s field.
Two top-10 finishes at majors this year aren’t hurting his chances, either.
Westwood followed up a tie for third at the Masters with a U.S. Open performance that saw him tie for 10th.
Although he missed the cut at Royal St. George’s last year, Westwood turned in a second-place finish and a tie for third at the 2010 and 2009 British Opens, respectively.
Throw in a 71.63 greens in regulation percentage and 64.15 sand save percentage in PGA Tour events this season, and Westwood will take the course at Royal Lytham as one of the safest bets for taking the title.
The world’s No. 1 ranked golfer may not be No. 1 in terms of players with the best odds of winning the British Open, but Donald is still one of the safest bets.
With four top-10 finishes in 10 PGA Tour events this season, Donald has already re-claimed the No. 1 ranking. Now, he will take the course at Royal Lytham as he attempts to win his first career major.
This season, majors have not been so kind to Donald.
After shooting a three-over-par at the Masters, Donald missed his only cut in a PGA Tour event this season at the U.S. Open.
However, Donald has still won three PGA events during the past two seasons and has a 67.16 driving accuracy percentage on tour.
McIlroy’s recent performances haven’t hurt his stock too much when it comes to the best odds for winning the British Open, as he is still one of the safest bets.
At 23 years old, McIlroy has had difficulty matching his 2011 U.S. Open performance in recent majors.
But, then again, he’s only 23 years old.
McIlroy still began his PGA Tour schedule this season with three straight top-3 finishes, including a win at the Honda Classic.
On a course such as Royal Lytham, McIlroy and the rest of the field will have little room for error.
However, among the entire field, McIlroy is still one of the safest bets.
A tie for eighth at the Masters and a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open have given Harrington some of the best odds at winning at Royal Lytham.
Not to mention his 2007 and 2008 British Open titles.
The three-time major winner will attempt to continue his recent string of success at majors when he takes the course at Royal Lytham.
Harrington has not won a PGA Tour event since winning his second consecutive major in 2008. That season, Harrington took the titles at both the British Open and PGA Championship.
Harrington is currently coming off a Scottish Open performance that saw him tie for 16th.
A two-time British Open winner who is heating up this year? He must be one of the safest bets to win at Royal Lytham.