British Open Odds 2013: Best Bets for Golf's Most Underrated Major

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IJuly 16, 2013

If the oddsmakers in Vegas are correct, Tiger Woods will win the 2013 British Open.

Obviously, betting odds have nothing to do with what will actually happen. 

Trying to predict who will win any given golf tournament is about as difficult as closing your eyes while playing the game itself. So many unpredictable variables come into play, and you never know when a fringe golfer will suddenly catch fire. 

That said, there's a reason why oddsmakers have singled out Woods as the heavy favorite, just as there are good reasons for every player near the top of the list. 

Here's a quick look at the odds for the top golfers in the field this week, via Bovada:

Tiger Woods8-1
Justin Rose16-1
Phil Mickelson16-1
Adam Scott20-1
Graeme McDowell22-1
Lee Westwood25-1
Rory McIlroy25-1
Sergio Garcia 25-1
Ernie Els28-1
Luke Donald28-1
Jason Day28-1

In the land that spawned the tales of Arthur and his Round Table, golf was born.

Still, many golf fans worldwide don't appreciate the amount of gravitas this tournament carries. 

The Open Championship is the oldest tournament in the world, and it is the only major championship held outside of the United States.

The venue for this year's tournament is among the oldest courses in the world. Muirfield was founded in 1891 and designed by one of golf's legends, Old Tom Morris.

While many casual fans may underrate this tournament, you can be sure the men competing for a chance to hoist the Claret Jug on Sunday afternoon understand the significance of winning the British Open. 

These upcoming men have what it takes to win this year's Open Championship.

Phil Mickelson

Links courses and Mickelson haven't always gotten along. 

Until his victory this past weekend at the 2013 Scottish Open, Lefty had never before won a tournament on United Kingdom soil. Furthermore, he's only logged two top-10 finishes in the British Open in his career. 

History is against him, but Mickelson is ready to break through with a monumental victory at Muirfield this year.

Not only has he finally gotten a win in the UK, but Lefty has been playing great golf since his poor showing at Augusta National in April. In addition to his win at the Scottish Open, he posted two straight second-place finishes at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and the U.S. Open. 

When he's playing at his highest level, Mickelson can win any tournament he enters. Thankfully for him and his legion of fans, he's red hot entering the 2013 British Open. 

Ernie Els

Els loves playing in British Opens. 

The defending and two-time champion has only missed the cut three times in 22 appearances, during which time he's finished in the top 10 a staggering 13 times. Though Woods has three victories to his credit, even he can't boast such a consistent presence as a contender.

Those who may point to Els' so-so season on the PGA Tour this year would be wise to take a look at what he's done in major championships thus far in 2013. Els finished in 13th place at the Masters and then finished in fourth place at the U.S. Open a month ago. 

The South African possesses the sweet swing and unflappable demeanor necessary to win in even the most difficult of circumstances, as he displayed in his first British Open victory in 2002 at Muirfield in horrible weather.

Tiger Woods

You didn't really think I'd leave Woods off this list, did you?

Considering the level of success he had this year before his elbow injury cropped up during The Players Championship, it would be foolish to believe he's not going to be right there in the thick of things on Sunday.

Woods had won four stroke-play tournaments in just six appearances, and it seemed but a formality that he'd finally break through with his 15th major championship. 

But he struggled badly at the U.S. Open while dealing with a painful injury.

Fans of the current No. 1 player in the world need not fear, however. Woods has consistently told reporters that his elbow feels fine, and he appears to be fully healthy, at ease mentally and ready to hit the ground running when the tournament begins on Thursday. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 


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