British Open Odds 2012: Latest Odds and Predictions for Top Stars

Will Osgood@@BRwillosgoodAnalyst IJuly 18, 2012

British Open Odds 2012: Latest Odds and Predictions for Top Stars

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    As round one of the Open Championship nears, the odds for the 2012 version of the only non-American major grow increasingly tight. 

    They are a little surprising. 

    But they probably aren't surprising as the predictions I will make for the top players in golf as they venture to capture the claret jug at Royal Lytham. 

    All odds courtesy of Bank Roll Sports. 

Tiger Woods: 7.5-to-1

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    Tiger Woods is the Vegas favorite. Bookies want you to put your money on Tiger. That's in part because they know common golf fans will do so. 

    Don't take the bait. Though Woods is playing as well as he has since his Thanksgiving evening accident-turned-into-sexcapade-revelation over two-and-a-half years ago, he still isn't back to himself. 

    He stunk it up in the final two rounds at the Olympic Club in the U.S. Open, and this tournament just feels like it's going to one of the three Brits in the top 10 who are yet to capture a major. 

    Woods might finish top 10 this week, but don't expect him to win the tournament. 

Lee Westwood: 14-to-1

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    Lee Westwood is nothing if not enduring. He has that boy-next-door persona and friendly demeanor. 

    And he is one heck of a golfer. As the No. 3 player in the world, no one would be surprised if Westwood took home the Claret Jug this week or won at the Ocean Course in South Carolina in a few weeks at the PGA Championship or the Master's in April 2013 for that matter. 

    In fact, golf fans expect Westwood to finally cash in and win a major. He's done just about everything else right throughout his career. 

    And yet, this week just doesn't feel like the week. He may very well contend, but don't look for Westwood to have his name carved on the Claret Jug. Maybe next time, Lee. 

Luke Donald: 14-to-1

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    Luke Donald is the No. 1 player in the world. Yet, he has been unable to channel the abilities that earned him that ranking for four straight days when it's mattered most, at a major. 

    Call me crazy, but I think the Open Championship 2012 version at Royal Lytham might be the tournament he finally does just that. 

    His game is the perfect fit for a course littered with sand bunkers a military solider would be quite pleased with when in fierce target combat. 

    If Donald can add together his unique ability to drive the ball accurately with an incredible ability to escape trouble when he finds the bunkers, that elusive major title could become a quick reality. 

    I'm not afraid to go on record as saying he will finish top two in this tournament. 

Rory McIlroy: 16-to-1

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    As amazing as Rory McIlroy was in his dominating 2011 U.S. Open championship run, he's been near that terrible in majors since. 

    Unlike most European players, it would be a mistake to assume Rory is the perfect fit for the typical links style that Royal Lytham exhibits. 

    The course encourages and requires great driving accuracy and incredible scrambling ability—two things McIlroy struggles with in major tournaments. If he can pull out a miracle and master those skills, he is capable of electrifying the crowds and holding up to some pretty generous odds. 

    Though 16-to-1 is actually generous on the part of bookies, given McIlroy's talent, trust me it's a trap. Rory is a name. But in recent majors he has come nowhere near holding up his end of the bargain. 

    Stay away from McIlroy, even at 16-to-1 odds. 

Padraig Harrington: 16-to-1

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    Padraig Harrington made a run last month at the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club. He was ultimately denied by mother nature and a hint of bad luck. 

    He follows in the line of Rory McIlroy as a major champion more than capable of winning this week. Perhaps the odds are meant to reflect that interesting factor. 

    Nonetheless, Harrington is much more of a longshot than McIlroy. Though a more-than-capable winner, Harrington had struggled in the past few years until his brief run last month. 

    Don't expect Harrington to land in the top 10 this week. After that, anything else is rather irrelevant. 

Martin Kaymer: 28-to-1

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    Can you believe Martin Kaymer is the sixth most likely winner at Royal Lytham this week? Your response seems to be a violent and incessant head shake registering in my nonverbal communication database as "NO!".

    Well neither can I. 

    Sure, Kaymer took the 2010 PGA Championship to register his first career major victory. But of the group contending this week with major victories to their names, Kaymer seems to be one of the least likely to repeat such a performance, especially with so many other great golfers playing so well. 

    If Kaymer wins, I'll do something crazy. Ask me if and when that happens, what that will be. 

Phil Mickelson: 28-to-1

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    Maybe it's a lack of toughness stemming from living in San Diego and Arizona that causes Phil Mickelson to wear gloves on both hands when he plays in the United Kingdom. Maybe it's something else altogether. 

    What matters is that Mickelson is still among the game's preeminent players, yet is clearly running out of time to win his first British Open title. 

    If Phil could play perfectly in all phases of his game, Royal Lytham is set up perfectly for Mickelson. If not, Phil will likely leave Royal Lytham and St. Annes as no more than an older gentleman preparing to buy the San Diego Padres and a load of frustration pent up against Great Britain and the Open Championship. 

Sergio Garcia: 30-to-1

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    Sergio Garcia would be well off to find the inner bearings of his magical 2000 PGA Championship performance while looking up at the best player in the world, Tiger Woods. 

    If he could do so, some magic may just reside within the temples of  the golf gods. 

    No one wants Garcia to win more than this American white boy. Yet no one would be surprised if it happened. 

Ernie Els: 30-to-1

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    At 30-to-1, The Big Easy is not a longshot, but he's also not considered one of the most likely to win this tournament. 

    It seems important to remember that older players have a more difficult time of putting together consistently good rounds in major tournaments. 

    Though if anyone were to continue a string of top-10 finishes, it would be Ernie Els. Never doubt this guy. In a field that seems as wide open as ever, Els is capable of stealing the tournament from the hands of some unsuspecting baby. 

Justin Rose: 30-to-1

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    The low likelihood of winning bestowed upon Justin Rose is shocking. This is still the No. 9 player in the world we're talking about. 

    Few players in fact are set up better for success this week than Rose. He has grown up playing links golf and won many links golf tournaments. 

    As a player in the top 12 in all of golf in ball striking and sand saves it seems Rose has just the game to Royal Lytham and St. Annes his own personal playground. 

    While Luke Donald is the player most likely to win, I foresee a Sunday pairing that has all of Great Britain giddy much like two weeks ago when Andy Murray was in the Wimbledon final. 

    Rose and Donald together for the claret jug. What could be better than that if you're a Brit?