Since Tiger Woods won back-to-back Open Championships in 2005 and 2006, the prestigious tournament has been a favorite for the underdogs.
Padraig Harrington won his first major at Carnoustie in 2007 and followed it up with No. 2 the next year at Royal Birkdale. He continued that immense run with another win later that year at the PGA Championship, but he hasn't won a tournament since.
Next came Stewart Cink at Turnberry in 2009. The last American to win it, Cink had just two top-25 finishes in 10 tries at the Open Championship before his only major victory.
At the famous Old Course at St. Andrews in 2010, Louis Oosthuizen, the man who hadn't made it past the cut of an Open Championship before that, raised the claret jug.
Darren Clarke followed that up with his first major win after 53 failed attempts in the 20 previous years.
Last year's dramatic winner, Ernie Els, was a little bit less surprising, but with zero PGA wins since 2010 and zero majors since 2002, the 42-year-old certainly wasn't a favorite coming in.
As the only major away from American soil, the British Open clearly has a knack for producing some unheralded winners.
Let's take a look the favorites looking to buck that trend at Muirfield this year.
Note: Odds courtesy of Bovada
Note: You can find a complete list of world golf rankings here
No. 1: Tiger Woods (8-1)
Unsurprisingly, the world's top golfer will enter Muirfield with the best odds.
But this is Tiger Woods, the man who has established himself as quite possibly the most polarizing figure in the sport over the past several years. We'd be fooling ourselves if we said there were no major question marks surrounding him.
After a scintillating start to the season, Eldrick finished 65th at the Memorial and 35th at the U.S. Open while dealing with an elbow injury that was clearly affecting his play. He hasn't won a major in over five years.
Still, the elbow is reportedly fine, per ESPN's Bob Harig, and Muirfield is a fast course similar to St. Andrews and Royal Liverpool, where he won his three other Open Championships.
If Woods is back to his pre-injury form—the one that saw him win four tournaments and finish fourth at the Masters in a five-month span earlier this year—he is undoubtedly suited to dominate links golf this weekend.
No. 2: Rory McIlroy (25-1)
While the world No. 1 has struggled for just over the past month, world No. 2 Rory McIlroy has been a disappointment the entire year.
He has actually made the cut at every tournament since withdrawing from The Honda Classic in March, but he has zero wins and two forgettable major performances to show for it.
McIlroy looked like he was in store for an unstoppable 2013 after winning the PGA Championship and finishing atop the money list last year, but inconsistency has plagued him.
But the man is just 24 years old and has dealt with an inordinate amount of distractions and lazy criticisms. He's far too talented not to snap out of his current funk soon, and it wouldn't be surprising if that happened at Muirfield, where he will undoubtedly be a fan favorite.
No. 3: Justin Rose (16-1)
The South African-born Englishman has been anything but reliable at what you might assume to be his best major, the British Open.
After finishing 12th in 2007 and 13th in 2009, he has missed the cut in two of the last three Opens, finishing in a tie for 44th in the other.
If there was ever a time for him to get off the schneid, however, it would be this year, as the 32-year-old is coming off an impressive win at the U.S. Open last month.
Moreover, he has been remarkably consistent this season, making the cut at nine of 10 tournaments and—wait for it—finishing in the top 25 in every single one of those nine tournaments.
Despite Rose's struggles at links golf in the past, there are very few safer picks in this field.
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