Tiger Woods may be the favorite to triumph at Muirfield this weekend, but don’t count on the world's No. 1 ending his five-year major drought.
The British Open is arguably the most challenging major in golf, and despite the U.S. Open’s incredibly difficult course this year, it wouldn’t be a surprise for the British Open to present equally difficult obstacles.
In 2002, Woods posted a 10-over 81 in the third round of the tournament at Muirfield, and while a lot has changed in the last 11 years, his recent performance hasn’t exactly been a ringing endorsement.
Still, Woods is listed as an 8-1 favorite to triumph this weekend. Bet at your own risk.
Only one player has won multiple majors in the last four-plus years (Rory McIlroy), and there’s reason to believe we could see yet another new champion at Muirfield this year.
Interestingly enough, McIlroy is listed as a 25-1 favorite to win the tournament (along with Lee Westwood), just ahead of last year’s winner, Ernie Els.
Let’s take a look at the 10 golfers with the best odds of winning the British Open and break down a few sleepers who could outplay their odds and challenge for the Claret Jug.
Top Sleeper Picks
*Betting odds courtesy of Bovada.lv.
Ian Poulter (50-1)
When betting on golf, it’s sometimes best to play the odds.
With 17 different winners in the last 18 majors, pinpointing this year’s British Open winner is nearly impossible. As is often the case, banking on a big payout is probably the best strategy.
The trick then becomes identifying likely winners with odds that will offer a sizable pay day.
Ian Poulter isn’t a major long shot, but at 50-1, bettors can expect a nice payout if he should win.
That certainly isn’t an impossibility. The 2008 U.S. Open runner-up and third-place PGA Championship finisher, Poulter has a track record of noticeable success in majors.
Of course, not having already won a major hurts his odds, but the 50-1 payout makes Poulter worth the risk.
Angel Cabrera (100-1)
Angel Cabrera nearly added a third major championship victory to his resume at the Masters this year, and while he came up just short with a second-place finish, Cabrera has been playing some terrific golf this year.
The 43-year-old has already posted five top-20 finishes in 2013, including a ninth-place finish at the Travelers Championship and a 13th-place finish at AT&T National last month.
Cabrera hasn’t fared particularly well at the British Open in his career—a fourth-place finish in 1999 being his best mark—but at 100-1, it’s hard not to take a flyer on the No. 56 player in the world.
As long as Cabrera sustains the momentum he has gained this year, there’s no reason he can’t be in the running at Muirfield on Sunday.
Keegan Bradley (80-1)
Another member of the recent major championship winner crop, Keegan Bradley took down the PGA Championship in 2011, adding to a career that has shown a lot of promise.
Bradley is somewhat inconsistent, but then again, betting on professional golfers is already a bit of a crapshoot.
This year, Bradley has notched six top-10 finishes, including a second-place finish at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and a third-place effort at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The world No. 16 has also missed four cuts this season, but at 80-1, it’s hard to not like his odds at the British Open.
*World golf rankings acquired from ESPN.com.