British Open Field 2014: Final Picks and Predictions Before Start of Tournament

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British Open Field 2014: Final Picks and Predictions Before Start of Tournament
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The last time the British Open was held at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, it featured a dominant 18-under performance from winner Tiger Woods in 2006.

That happened to be Tiger's last Open Championship victory, and the 2014 edition of the tournament also marks the former world No. 1's return to majors after a lengthy layoff following back surgery.

While the course yielded some low scores eight years ago, the same shouldn't be expected this time around.

According to Weather.com, the seaside links course will be plagued with rain and some high winds throughout the tournament's duration.

Christopher Clary of The New York Times is keeping track of the weather in Hoylake:

This will be a big test for the world's best golfers, as optimal scoring conditions on 
Thursday will give way to 17 mph winds on Friday and upwards of an 80 percent chance of rain over the weekend.

Odds Shark provided the betting lines for each member of the field. Here's a look at the tournament predictions for the top 10 players.

2014 British Open Predictions
Player Odds Final Score Position
Henrik Stenson 14-1 -10 1
Adam Scott 14-1 -9 2
Rory McIlroy 10-1 -5 T5
Martin Kaymer 14-1 -5 T5
Justin Rose 16-1 -3 T8
Jordan Spieth 25-1 -3 T8
Jason Day 25-1 -2 T11
Graeme McDowell 22-1 -2 T11
Phil Mickelson 20-1 E 14
Tiger Woods 16-1 CUT CUT

Sean O'Donnell's Predictions

Henrik Stenson is the world's No. 2-ranked player for a reason.

His recent resurgence has been highlighted with wins at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Tour Championship and DP World Tour Championship in 2013, followed by four consecutive top-10 finishes in his last four events—including finishing tied for fourth at the U.S. Open.

Stenson has yet to win an Open Championship, but he recorded his best-ever finish last year with a solo second behind winner Phil Mickelson.

Taking Stenson's recent stellar play, and his prowess at majors, into consideration, expect him to hoist the Claret Jug this year.

Ryan Lavner of the Golf Channel has his reasons for liking Stenson as well:

It only makes sense world No. 1 Adam Scott finishes just on Stenson's heels.

Scott has won at least one tournament in each of his last 10 years, with his career high of four coming in 2013.

He moved to the world's top ranking following his win at the Crowne Plaza Invitational this year and hasn't looked back.

During an interview with the Australian Associated Press, via The Sydney Morning Herald, Scott spoke of entering Royal Liverpool with plenty of confidence:

Everything's been going great. The swing's managed to stay in the right place and I feel like in the few days I've been here, I've hit a lot of quality shots and the comfort level is pretty high with all that.

It's just about kind of managing the nerves and expectation and not getting in front of yourself and remembering what I've done the last couple of years to put myself in a position on Sunday to win.

According to The Open, Scott's continued to exude confidence since arriving in Hoylake:

Expect to see some surprises near the top of the leaderboard—as there are every year—but they'll be mixed with some familiar faces such as Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.

One face that may not even make an appearance over the weekend is Tiger Woods.

Woods is hoping for a triumphant return to major play; however, due to a lack of preparation, he'll be hard-pressed to get through two days of the tournament that figure to come with plenty of obstacles.

During an interview with John Huggan of The Scotsmanformer coach Hank Haney doesn't appear to like Woods' chances at Royal Liverpool:

That he isn't going to play competitively in the two weeks running up to the Open speaks to the fact that he doesn't care as much as he used to. Still, you can't win if you don't enter. Maybe he will catch lightning in a bottle. But I really think he is using the Open to get ready for the [US] PGA at Valhalla next month. That's a much more realistic target for him.

Haney added, "I can’t believe he feels like he is ready to win the Open."

Woods and Haney may not see eye to eye these days, but the instructor's comments sure do make plenty of sense.

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