Dustin Johnson overcame a long history of heartbreak at the major golf tournaments last month when he won the U.S. Open with a sensational final round. That win has seemingly unburdened Johnson, who had a reputation for choking under pressure.
Now that he has earned his first major championship, how soon will it be before Johnson adds his second? Could he make it two in a row and win the British Open at Royal Troon in Scotland this week?
The oddsmakers think it's a good possibility. Johnson has broken through on the stranglehold that the Big Three of Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy have had on the sport. Johnson is the 13-2 favorite to win the event, according to Odds Shark. Day is the second choice at 8-1, while Spieth and McIlroy are next at 10-1.
Johnson is on top of his game. After picking up his U.S. Open victory, he won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and it would not be shocking to see him win at Royal Troon. Johnson's power could give him an edge over nearly every golfer in the field, with the possible exceptions of Bubba Watson, McIlroy and Day.
|British Open Odds|
|Dustin Johnson||13-2||Tremendous power has him on a roll.|
|Jason Day||8-1||Wonderful consistency in all areas.|
|Jordan Spieth||10-1||Came unraveled at Augusta.|
|Rory McIlroy||10-1||Tremendous power, but not overly sharp.|
|Adam Scott||20-1||Sweet swing and tremendous all-around game.|
|Branden Grace||20-1||Beware the sleeper.|
|Sergio Garcia||25-1||He can get close, but don't expect him to finish.|
|Henrik Stenson||25-1||Strong player capable of beating the best.|
|Rickie Fowler||25-1||Struggling quite a bit this year.|
|Phil Mickelson||28-1||If he can stay close, watch out for him on Sunday.|
Johnson ranks second in shots gained off the tee and from tee to green, according to PGATour.com. That's a remarkable combination, and if his putting is decent in this tournament, it may be hard to beat him.
It would be wrong to discount Day's chances of winning this tournament, though, because he is still the top-ranked golfer in the world. When he is on his game, his short irons are so reliable that he can putt for birdie nearly every time.
When Day's putting is on point, he is almost impossible to beat. He has already won three tournaments this year and has earned more than $6.3 million in prize money.
Spieth has not been the same golfer this year that he was in 2015 when he won the Masters and U.S. Open. He had a huge lead going into the final round of the 2016 Masters, but he played himself into major trouble on the back nine of his Sunday round. Spieth appears to be over that disaster right now, but if he puts himself in a position to contend at Royal Troon, it will be interesting to see how he comports himself during the final two rounds.
Spieth is the third-ranked player in the world and has won two tournaments this year along with more than $4.5 million in prize money. The key to his chances of winning is his ability to make putts that few other players can make with consistency. He ranks fifth in shots gained from putting, and he needs to be at his best in that area if he is going to win the British Open.
McIlroy is still considered to be one of the best players in the game, but he has just one third-place finish on the PGA Tour and has earned slightly more than $2.3 million. He is all about gaining an advantage with his length off the tee, but he has not been accurate enough this year. McIlroy finds the fairway 61.07 percent of the time, and that ranks 83rd on the tour.
If he can't do better than that at Royal Troon, he won't have a decent chance of winning.
This could be the year that Adam Scott wins the British Open. He has finished in the top 10 in this event four straight times, and his game tends to sharpen up when he plays in golf's oldest major. Scott is having a sensational year, having won two tournaments and earning just less than $5 million to this point.
Don't count out Danny Willett, though. The Masters winner finished tied for sixth in last year's British Open, and he is familiar with the links style of golf that is so common in Great Britain.
Another golfer who deserves consideration is Louis Oosthuizen. When it comes to having a picture-perfect swing, the 5'10" South African qualifies. Oosthuizen has been in the top 30 in his last seven majors. He is always in contention, and this could be the year he brings home a British Open title.
Now that Johnson has won his major, Lee Westwood appears to hold the title of "best golfer who has never won a major." Westwood finished second in the Masters and played well at the U.S. Open until fading in the final round.
That has been Westwood's major issue over the years; he just can't hang in for more than 54 holes before feeling the pressure and losing control of his game.
Stats courtesy of PGATour.com.