Although everyone who enters the 2014 Open Championship will have an opportunity to bring home a title, some golfers have a much better chance of winning than others.
After an extended run of first-time winners at majors, the last few events have featured a lot more consistency. Masters winner Bubba Watson and U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer had each won major events before this season, while the last two British Open winners—Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els—have nine victories between them.
This does not necessarily doom those who have struggled in majors in the past, but this remains a good tournament to bet on the favorites if you have a chance. Here is a look at those with the best odds to win a title this weekend in Royal Liverpool.
Adam Scott (12-1)
The No. 1 golfer in the world rankings has lived up to his standing this season, even if he has limited the number of tournaments. Adam Scott has made the cut in all 10 of his PGA Tour starts this year and has been in the top 25 in nine of them.
His solid showing at the U.S. Open also continued an impressive trend at majors, as noted by PGA of Australia:
Interesting stat that Adam Scott's T9 today was his first #USOpen top 10. Scott has now finished top 15 in 11 of his last 14 Major starts.— PGA of Australia (@PGAofAustralia) June 16, 2014
Todd Lewis of Golf Channel provides some more insight about what makes Scott a favorite:
Spoke with Adam Scott who said Royal Liverpool is like Augusta with not a blade of grass out of place. 2nd & 3rd last two years at Open.— Todd Lewis (@ToddLewisGC) July 13, 2014
The Australian is as consistent as they come and always shows up for the big tournaments. He does a little bit of everything well, from driving to accuracy to a near perfect short game. While he still looks strange with his unorthodox putter, he is having his best season on the greens.
Scott's well-rounded game is certain to suit him well on a course that presents plenty of birdie opportunities, making him a safe bet to have success in Hoylake.
Tiger Woods (15-1)
This line is simply based on the name and reputation. Otherwise, there is no reason to expect Tiger Woods to have too much success at The Open Championship.
The superstar missed most of the past few months after undergoing surgery to repair a pinched nerve in his back. His only competitive appearance since March took place at the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club.
Despite missing the cut with a score of seven strokes over par, he feels this tournament was helpful, via Bob Harig of ESPN:
Congressional was big for me. The fact I could go out there and play and I got better as the days went on. It was a little bit eerie and iffy if that was going to happen or not, especially with how hard I was hitting the ball.
But I've got my speed back, which is nice, and I'm starting to hit the ball out there again. I'm only going to get stronger. As the weeks go on, I'm getting strong and faster.
It is tough to expect a strong performance right away, but things could get interesting if he does post a low score on Thursday. Once he gains confidence, he should be able to keep up the strong play and keep himself high on the leaderboard.
One thing that will help him out is his history with this course. Woods torched the field the last time the British Open was at Royal Liverpool, winning the 2006 title with a score of minus-18.
This might be a risky bet, but it is rare you can get this long of odds on someone with as much pure talent and experience as Woods.
Rory McIlroy (15-1)
If Rory McIlroy could play at his peak level for four rounds, he would likely win almost every tournament he enters. Unfortunately, the inconsistency has killed him this season.
This was seen recently at the Scottish Open, when McIlroy posted rounds of 64, 68 and 67 to keep himself in contention, but a 78 in Round 2 left him far off the lead.
All year long, the 25-year-old golfer has played well enough to win, but he is always knocked out of contention with a round in the high 70s. If he continues to play this way, he will once again finish outside the top 10, like he has in four of his five starts in The Open Championship.
Kyle Porter of CBS Sports notes that McIlroy is one of the competitors under the most pressure to win this weekend:
I keep writing that McIlroy is the most talented golfer in the world and he keeps going out and proving me wrong. Maybe he just needs a major to get the train towards legendary status back on the track. Or a model. But probably a major.
While he has found ways to finish in the top 10, it is hard to imagine McIlroy actually winning until he shows a bit more from round to round. After he missed the cut at this event a year ago, there are certainly safer bets to make before this tournament.
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