With the field completely open for the 2014 British Open, sorting out the favorites has become a bit harder to do.
Betting on one golfer in a major tournament is almost always a fool's errand. All it takes is one bad round and the best in the world are all but eliminated from contention.
Heading into the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, it's anybody's guess as to whom the favorite is. Of course, you've got your cadre of top stars, but nobody inspires much confidence.
Among the field for this year's Open Championship, these four golfers will dominate the discussion.
Note: Odds are courtesy of VegasInsider.com and as up to date as 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 13.
Adam Scott: 12/1
Nobody's more heavily favored, at least according to Vegas Insider, to win the Open Championship than Adam Scott.
Although he's never won the tournament, the 33-year-old finished second in 2012 and then in a tie for third in 2013. Scott's also been very consistent throughout 2014, earning six top-10 finishes in 10 PGA Tour events.
Nobody has really distanced himself from the pack this year, so Scott's sustained strong play stands out. He's unquestionably one of the best golfers in the world with a major tournament win to his name.
If you're gonna hitch your wagons to one guy in Liverpool, the Australian star is your best bet.
Tiger Woods: 15/1
What does Tiger Woods have to do to not be considered one of the top favorites in a major tournament, short of not playing at all?
Woods has been hurt for most of the 2014 season, missing out on both the Masters and US Open. He returned at the Quicken Loans National but missed the cut after shooting seven over.
As if that isn't enough to make you question Tiger's chances, consider that his last major triumph came nearly seven years ago at the 2007 PGA Championship.
Despite the road blocks in front of him, the 38-year-old remains positive at Royal Liverpool, where reigned supreme in 2006, per USA Today's Steve DiMeglio:
"It felt good," Woods said Saturday about being back. "I remember most of the holes, which was nice. … There really weren't (any emotions). I just wanted to get out here and get a feel for the golf course. Yesterday we were in Geneva for a Rolex outing. Today I just wanted to get out here and get my feet wet."
No matter what he does, Woods' exploits will be carefully tracked throughout the weekend.
Rory McIlroy: 15/1
By now, everybody knows the book on Rory McIlroy. He's immensely talented but often his own worst enemy. Once he gets out of his own way, he'll become the best golfer on the PGA Tour.
What will likely decide McIlroy's Open Championship is his performance in the second round. For whatever reason, he's often melted down on the second day of tournaments in 2014, per Golf Central:
That continued at the Scottish Open over the weekend, per GolfChannel.com's Will Gray:
The highest the 25-year-old has ever finished at the Open Championship was a tie for third in 2010. With his experience from the European Tour, he should be used to the conditions at Liverpool.
But don't be surprised if McIlroy digs himself into an early hole on Day 2 that he can't climb out of.
Phil Mickelson: 28/1
The Open Championship has historically been Phil Mickelson's worst, and when you combine that with his poor—relatively speaking—performances at the US Open and Masters, you can understand why Lefty isn't considered one of the top favorites.
Mickelson was absolutely brilliant last year, but what are the chances he catches lightning in a bottle like that again?
Speaking ahead of the tournament, he did mention that having one title does ease some of the pressure, per The Associated Press:
"I'm able to go there as a past champion, as opposed to a foreign player who has never been able to conquer links golf," Mickelson said. "I just go there with a whole different confidence level.
"There's a fraction of the pressure that I felt before Open Championships from years prior, because once you've already won it, once you have held the claret jug and have won, it just feels different. You don't feel like you have to fight it. You don't have to force it."
Mickelson looked good at the Scottish Open, so maybe he's not the minor underdog the odds would have you believe.
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