Early Odds to Win the 2014 Open Championship Post-U.S. Open

Brendan O'MearaFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2014

Early Odds to Win the 2014 Open Championship Post-U.S. Open

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    Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    Halfway through the major season and there have been two different winners. Bubba Watson won his second Masters, and Martin Kaymer won his second major at the U.S. Open

    The talent across the field is deep. Predicting who can win any golf tournament is about as easy as holing a 7-iron from 150 yards out. Just look at how Odds Shark predicted the likelihood of certain golfers to win the U.S. Open. Rory McIlroy was 10-1; he finished tied for 23rd. Watson was 18-1; he missed the cut. Kaymer was 40-1

    Predicting is like a joker performing before a king holding court: for amusement, and maybe some food for thought. But mainly amusement. The criteria for the following golfers has to do primarily with how they finished the U.S. Open, but also how a few have performed in the British Open.

    The U.S. Open is over, dads were celebrated, and when July comes, it's time to follow the jet stream and land in the Mother Country for some links-style golf.

Tiger Woods

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Odds to Win: 50-1

    Really? Isn't this just a waste of time and space? So long as Tiger Woods has a pulse and a terrible, terrible goatee (he needs it for wind protection in the British Open), he needs to be respected.

    He hasn't won a major in six years. The last British Open played at Hoylake was won by Woods. This was a Tiger not on the Endangered Species List, not this latter Tiger on the verge of majors-golf extinction. The fossil records will one day show how Woods dominated the earth much like the T-Rex before him. 

    Will he play? Probably not, but until the sun gets completely blotted out from interstellar dust, Woods is on every list.

Lee Westwood

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    Odds to Win: 40-1

    Lee Westwood is one of the best players on the European Tour and one of the best never to have won a major. He's come close, like last year's British, when he finished tied for third

    He failed to make the cut at the 2014 U.S. Open, missing the cut by three strokes. He was, however, quickly over his poor effort at Pinehurst, tweeting about the World Cup and the NBA Finals, among other pretty awesome stuff.

    Westwood is one of those steady players, and in 2009 and 2010, he finished third and second, respectively, in the Open Championship. It's only a matter of time before he breaks through and wins one, but he's also not getting any younger, and the window closes faster all the time. 

Rickie Fowler

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Odds to Win: 33-1

    Rickie Fowler played a great U.S. Open. He finished tied for second and was one of only three under par. His flashy wardrobe often precedes his ball striking. If he plays like he did at Pinehurst No. 2, there's no reason to think he can't perform well at Hoylake. 

    Heading into the U.S. Open, Fowler was 39th in the world rankings, and he rocked the straight-brim Puma to a great finish. Looks like he is "big hat, big cattle," contrary to what Johnny Miller may think

    He was 66-1 to win the U.S. Open, and those odds will drop precipitously after he proved he can handle the rigors of a major tournament and play in the final pairing.

Bubba Watson

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Odds to Win: 33-1

    The enigma that is Bubba Watson continues. After winning the Masters—his second—he was one of the favorites to double up and win the U.S. Open. His odds were 18-1, good for fourth choice. He then went and missed the cut by a stroke, finishing the U.S. Open at six-over. He told The Fayetteville Observer:

    For me personally, my imagination, I can't see all the green surface, so it's hard for me to decide if I want to draw it in there or cut it in there because you're looking at a small target that's maybe only 10, 15 feet wide. It's hard to get my mind to see landing in that small target.

    Any major champion has to be respected heading into the Open. The greens may not have suited his eye, as it were, at Pinehurst, but anyone whose game is suited for Augusta can win the British. See: Woods. See:...

Rory McIlroy

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Odds to Win: 28-1

    Rory McIlroy did what he planned to do in the U.S. Open: play an increasingly conservative game. The problem was Martin Kaymer making a complete mockery of Pinehurst No. 2 and the rest of the field. 

    "I got off to a pretty rough start," said McIlroy, per BBC. "I played OK but just left myself in some difficult spots and could not get up and down. I played well in the back nine, pretty solid, and recovered it a little bit."

    When McIlroy is on his game, there's no golfer on the planet who can beat him. His weakness has been an inability to string together an entire weekend. At the Memorial, he went really low and followed that by a very high round. He can only turn to Jack Nicklaus so many times.

    Should McIlroy adopt the same principles he carried into the U.S. Open, he's a viable threat to win the British, not to mention a nice price on those odds.

Phil Mickelson

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    Odds to Win: 20-1

    Last year's British Open champion hasn't had the greatest 2014. He had a mediocre U.S. Open, but it was still good enough to shoot seven-over, tied for 28th. Lefty won last year's British by posting one of the better final rounds in recent memory. He shot five-under to wrest the title away from Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter. Mickelson told the AP:

    This is such an accomplishment for me because I just never knew if I'd be able to develop the game to play links golf effectively. To play the best round arguably of my career, to putt better than I've ever putted, to shoot the round of my life . . . it feels amazing to win the claret jug.

    The insider trading fiasco is behind Mickelson, and that's only going to free his mind up to do what he does best: play golf.

Adam Scott

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Odds to Win: 18-1

    Adam Scott is unflappable. He's a Masters winner and the No. 1-ranked player in the world. Scott finished tied for ninth in the U.S. Open—his sixth top-10 of the year.

    Scott improved on his Masters effort, where he finished 14th. If he continues on that trajectory, he's a lock for a top-five and maybe his second career major.

    "I wish I would have been closer," Scott told Kyle Porter of CBS Sports. "I'm playing some of the best golf of my life, but winning majors is hard."

    Yes, winning majors is hard, but he's proven that he could, just like...

Martin Kaymer

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    Charles Riedel/Associated Press

    Odds to Win: 10-1

    Not since the Blitzkrieg did a German roll through the earth like Martin Kaymer did in the U.S. Open. He won by eight strokes over Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton. Kaymer rolled in a long par putt on No. 18 to win the U.S. Open and cap off a wire-to-wire win you rarely see.

    Kaymer stormed into Pinehurst and seized control of the scoreboard and didn't look back. If he can repeat a Day 1 and 2 like he had in the U.S. Open, he could earn his third major and be just a Masters away from winning the career Grand Slam.

    In his post-U.S. Open interview, he said he had to tweak his game to better fit the conditions of the British. If he does, he's a worthy favorite to take the third major of 2014.

     

    All odds are an approximation provided by the author.