Early Odds to Win the 2015 British Open Post-US Open Edition

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2015

Early Odds to Win the 2015 British Open Post-US Open Edition

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    The groans over Dustin Johnson's 72nd-hole three-wack and cheers for Jordan Spieth's triumph have barely subsided, and we're already thinking about the next major. 

    The wait between the Masters and the U.S. Open always seems like an eternity, but the pause between the U.S. Open and the Open Championship is always seemingly brief, isn't it?

    The golf calendar's oldest and arguably most venerable championship gets started July 16 from golf's most distinguished venue: St Andrews. 

    Let's take a look at a consensus of major sportsbooks to see who's favored to take home the Claret Jug.

Jason Day

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Odds to win: 30-1

    It seems most people have heard anecdotal tales of the effects of vertigo: its hide-your-head-under-the-covers stuff. It isn't contend-for-the-U.S.-Open stuff. 

    The latter is exactly what Jason Day did at Chambers Bay before running out of gas down the stretch Sunday, and it was impressive. The ailing Australian finished tied for ninth, a final-round 74 thwarting his efforts to raise the U.S. Open trophy. 

    Heading into the third major of the season, the pure striker of the golf ball is entering the major in which he has performed the worst in his six years on the PGA Tour. While he's made four of four cuts in the competition, Day has never recorded a top 25 at the R&A's event. 

    We'll see if the gutsy Australian can buck the trend of lackluster play at the courses of the Open rota.

Phil Mickelson

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    Odds to win: 28-1

    An opening-round 69 has Phil Mickelson looking like a good selection for your fantasy golf roster. A second-round 74 and a third-round 77, however, likely had Lefty's fantasy owners banging their heads against the wall. 

    Ultimately, the California native finished tied for 64th at a tournament where his creativity around the greens seemed like a major advantage. Instead, it was Mickelson's lack of accuracy into greens that cost him as he hit just 60 percent of greens in regulation for the week. 

    And while he didn't add his name to the list of career Grand Slam winners this week, Mickelson is among the favorites to hoist the Claret Jug at St Andrews. The 2013 Champion Golfer of the Year's recent aptitude for links golf earns him a long look in oddsmakers eyes. 

Sergio Garcia

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Odds to win: 25-1

    Sergio Garcia and Chambers Bay were not a love match, at least not with the way the USGA elected to set up and condition the course. 

    Garcia took to Twitter for an impressive rant about conditions, as grown-men professional golfers often do. He then followed up, telling USA Today:

    This is a great championship with great history. The U.S. Open deserves so much better than this. It hurts to see what they have done to the course. These greens, come on, let's be honest, you can't say they are good. It's just not right.

    Lost in stories about the Spaniard's contempt for the USGA's efforts is the fact that he tied for 18th at the track, even rallying for a final-round 68. Thus, he didn't play terribly. 

    Garcia nearly chased down Rory McIlroy at last year's Open Championship and has totaled eight top-10s in the competition in his career. While you could say a lot more about Garcia at the British Open, the bottom line is this: It's time for him to win a major, and this one, more than any of the other four, is the one he's most suited to win.

Adam Scott

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Odds to win: 22-1

    Surprise Sunday surger Adam Scott vaulted up the U.S. Open leaderboard with a bogey-free 64. The inspired final round earned the Australian a tie for fourth at Chambers Bay. 

    We've been waiting for the answer to the question: "When will Adam Scott's putter heat up?" Perhaps his ability to handle Chambers Bay's tricky, undulating and burnt-out surfaces will inspire him going forward. 

    The heartbreak of 2012 at Royal Lytham is still fresh in the minds of golf fans. But it's worth remembering that Scott's back-nine meltdown that year was some of his only poor work at an Open Championship in recent years. He finished tied for third in 2013 and tied for fifth in 2014. 

    He tied for 27 in 2010 at the last Open at St Andrews.

Henrik Stenson

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Odds to win: 20-1

    Henrik Stenson placed 27th at Chambers Bay. It was only (go figure) his putting that kept his performance from being much better. 

    Stenson, one of the tour's best from tee to green, has had a little better luck at the Open Championship than the Open on this side of the pond. Indeed, he tied for 10th at St Andrews in 2010 and has totaled three top-five finishes in the competition. 

    The Swede leads the tour in greens in regulation (73.26 percent) and is third in strokes gained: total. He's actually putted well across the majority of this year and looks (as he does entering nearly every major) ready to take the next step. 

    Perhaps he'll get over the hump with the return to an Open Championship venue he's handled well in the past.

Rickie Fowler

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Odds to win: 20-1

    Recent major championship dynamo Rickie Fowler stubbed his toe at Chambers Bay. Fowler and Tiger Woods seemed to be having a race to the bottom as Woods carded a deplorable 80 to Fowler's 81 in the pair's opening round. 

    Fowler (and Woods) missed the cut badly at Chambers Bay and didn't hit enough greens or hole enough putts to give himself a chance. He also went eight over in a stretch of four holes during his first round, which didn't help. 

    Fowler tied for 14th the last time the Open Championship was held at St Andrews and finished tied for second at Royal Liverpool last year. Historically, the competition has inspired his best major performances. Oddly, the bold California kid is a pretty good links player and seems at home on the brown fairways of England and Scotland.

Justin Rose

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Odds to win: 18-1

    Among the pre-tournament favorites, the 2013 U.S. Open winner was never a factor at Chambers Bay. Justin Rose, stymied by his usual pathetic putting, finished tied for 27, even while hitting 74 percent of greens in regulation for the tournament. 

    Rose's career, of course, is permanently meshed with the British Open as it was at the tournament in 1998 he emerged on the international golfing scene with an inspired performance. Interestingly, the T4 finish remains the best of the Englishman's career in competition nearly 20 years later. 

    It seems odd to say given his early aptitude, but Rose has never been a very impressive performer at the season's third major. In fact, outside of his performance in 1998, he's never posted a top-10 finish. 

    We'll see if Rose can buck that trend at St Andrews.

Dustin Johnson

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Odds to win: 12-1

    Dustin Johnson's odds to cry himself to sleep every night for the coming week are even better than his chances of winning at St Andrews. 

    This Carolinian bomber came up a stroke shy at Chambers Bay after three-putting the 72nd hole from an advantageous position for eagle on the Washington course's green. Even so, a tied-for-second finish at a major is a net positive, especially as another stone in the road of DJ's return to glory this season. 

    Johnson tied for 14th at St Andrews in 2010 and has placed as highly as a tie for second at an Open venue. If you watched Johnson's back nine at Chambers Bay, you know what he'll need to do to win at St Andrews: continue his superhuman driving and putt like a mere average professional golfer, rather than a 20-handicapper.

Rory McIlroy

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Odds to win: 5-1

    Chambers Bay frustrated Rory McIlroy, and the Ulsterman wasn't exactly silent about his displeasure. 

    Referencing the fact that Stenson had called the course's much maligned putting surfaces broccoli, McIlroy said, "I don't think they're as green as broccoli. I think they're more like cauliflower."

    He added: "They are what they are; everyone has to putt on them. It's all mental. Some guys embrace it more than others, and that's really the way it is. It is disappointing that they're not in a bit better shape."

    McIlroy managed to rally for the final round, firing a four-under 66 to finish tied for ninth at the 115th edition of the U.S. Open. 

    Still, the world No. 1 can't be thrilled by his goose egg in the majors this year and the fact that his rival of sorts, Jordan Spieth, has made off with both major trophies. 

    Expect McIlroy to be motivated in the home of golf. And as the reigning winner of the Open Championship, it's clear he knows how to handle his business on the courses of the Open rota.

Jordan Spieth

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Odds to win: 4-1

    Amid Sunday storylines that included Jason Day's vertigo and continued Chambers Bay-related bickering, somewhat lost was the fact that the guy who won the season's first major was in good position to win the second. 

    Thanks to a timely birdie at the 72nd hole, Spieth outlasted Louis Oosthuizen and Dustin Johnson, who faltered at the last hole. The 21-year-old once again proved that his partnership with caddie Michael Greller can dismantle even the trickiest of courses (and even when Spieth is not firing on all cylinders). 

    Even more than the fact that he's second on tour in strokes gained: total, the productive partnership and recent form suggest that Spieth will not only be the best golfer in the field but also equipped with a superlative plan of attack.

    Stats are courtesy of PGATour.com and USOpen.com.


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