The British Open should provide no shortage of drama. With a group of beatable top contenders and plenty of players capable of stealing the spotlight at the Muirfield Golf Links, the third major of the season promises to have several twists and turns.
Among the other big names, Rory McIlroy still hasn't found top form, Adam Scott has faded since his Masters triumph and Justin Rose faces the daunting task of trying to win two straight majors.
The lack of certainty opens the door for other players to step up. With that in mind, let's examine three long shots who have a realistic chance to make a run at the Open Championship.
All tournament odds are courtesy of Bovada.lv.
Ian Poulter (40-1)
Poulter is the type of player who seems to thrive on pressure. He's shown that in events like the Ryder Cup. His strong play at the team event in 2012 helped spark Europe's comeback.
He hasn't been able to carry that type of play over to majors, though.
Perhaps that will change at the Open Championship. He finished second in the event five years ago, which still stands as his best result at a major. The usually tough conditions would seem to favor his precision style as opposed to a power game.
The biggest key for him is finding a rhythm early.
When he's striking the ball well early and rolling good putts, the confidence boost it provides him is noticeable. If that doesn't happen, he tends to fade. A strong opening round and he's off and running.
Nicolas Colsaerts (50-1)
Colsaerts is exactly the type of golfer likely to win the British Open: a wildly inconsistent player that possesses plenty of talent but struggles to produces his best efforts from week to week; an unpredictable player for an unpredictable tournament.
That's what makes the majors special. Fans get to witness the best players in the world chasing the same trophy. And all it takes is four good days to win the tournament.
It doesn't matter what Colsaerts did in his last start—he can put it all together and come out on top.
The Belgian is a big hitter, which should give him a little more margin for error as long as he controls his accuracy. It doesn't have to be right down the middle of the fairway every time. To stay in the mix, he just needs to avoid the wayward tee shots that lead to triple bogey.
Jason Dufner (55-1)
The most encouraging thing for Dufner is his performance at the U.S. Open. The conditions were downright brutal at times and he managed to finish fourth. He tied for the lowest score of the final round to move up the leaderboard.
If he can bring that form to Muirfield, he's a legitimate threat despite the long odds.
Like the other players on the list, consistency is a factor—also why the odds are so slim—but his problems are more from round to round.
For example, at the Players Championship, he put together three solid rounds and then shot 80 on Sunday. Should Dufner be able to avoid one of those type of performances, there's a strong chance he's near the top on the final day.
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