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British Open 2018: Latest Pre-Tournament Comments, Odds and Predictions

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2018

CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - APRIL 24: A view of The Claret Jug for The Open Championship media day at Carnoustie Golf Links on April 24, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. The 147th Open Championship will take place at Carnoustie between 19th-22nd July 2018 (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The 2018 British Open is right around the corner, as the world's top golfers will take on the challenging and iconic course at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland.

Here's a look at the favourites to win this year's title, per OddsShark:

OddsShark @OddsShark

British Open odds (@BovadaOfficial): Johnson +1100 McIlroy +1200 Spieth/Rose/Fowler/Fleetwood +1600 Koepka/Thomas/Woods/Rahm +2000 Stenson +2200 Day/Garcia +2500 Noren +2800 Molinari/Matsuyama/Leishman +3300 Reed/Casey/Mickelson +3300 Grace/Hatton +4000 Watson/Poulter/Knox +5000

Dustin Johnson leads the way ahead of Rory McIlroy, the 2014 winner. Reigning champion Jordan Spieth is also among the favourites, with 2016 victor Henrik Stenson further down the list.

Carnoustie is known as a tricky course that favours versatile players with few holes in their game, and after a warm and dry summer, the fairways will be remarkably fast and firm.

Brandt Snedeker was one of many who noted this will be an Open unlike any other:

Brandt Snedeker @BrandtSnedeker

Just hit one 427 on 18 @TheOpen .. Guys would be hitting it in the burn in front of green 450+.. Carnoustie is baked out but greens are pure.. Never seen an Open this firm.. Will be an awesome week if it stays like this.. https://t.co/AUXyPGF4iu

Lee Westwood @WestwoodLee

It’s not often the fairways run faster than the greens! https://t.co/YHKvWfOUG7

Per Peter Scrivener of BBC Sport, Spieth said "a lot of feel and imagination" will be required to win this week. 

The course conditions should favour three-time winner Tiger Woods, who only used his driver once in his 2006 win at Hoylake, per Alex Myers of Golf Digest. He's been one of the top players on tour in terms of strokes gained/approach this year, indicating his form with the iron is about where he needs it to be to have success here.

The 42-year-old took some time out of his schedule to check out the Wimbledon tennis championships, but golf was never far from his mind:

Tiger Woods @TigerWoods

Here in London before The Open. Any nice greens to practice on?

McIlroy has also spent enough time away from the courses, but he's determined not to overdo his preparations for the tournament―a mistake he admitted to making ahead of the U.S. Open, per Brian Keogh of the Irish Independent:

"I felt like I almost over-prepared for Shinnecock. I was there too long, and I was starting to see all the spots you shouldn't hit it in and that's where I was hitting it in.

"So to know the course and know what to expect, it will be nice.

"The Open is never going to get like that because the greens won't get that fast and the greens aren't that slopey. Even if it gets rock hard, it's still very, very fair and playable." 

Johnson's solid play throughout the year leaves him as the favourite for now, but it's worth noting he has won just the one major in his career. His performance in the U.S. Open―where he gave up a significant lead―has some questioning his mental toughness right now, and he's not been effective in the UK.

Tommy Fleetwood holds the course recordshooting a 63 during last year's Alfred Dunhill Links Championshipand after a runner-up finish in the U.S. Open, he could be an excellent value pick to keep an eye on.

The 27-year-old Englishman is high on confidence and looking to break a run of five American major winners in a row, per Scrivener:

"There's no doubt about it and there's no other way to put it, than they [the U.S.] have an exceptional bunch of players at the moment. It will be nice to break that run.

"Straight after the U.S. Open I wanted The Open to start straight away because you are on such a high. It was disappointing coming that close but you had that momentum and it was more proof that I can finish 72 holes right up there.

"One shot is a quarter of a shot a round so it's not that much. There's no good reason why I can't win a major."

Justin Rose, Justin Thomas and McIlroy will also be part of a large group of favourites to watch, and Brooks Koepka could be an excellent value play, looking at his form and the cool nerves he showed in his U.S. Open win.

       

Prediction

Johnson's great work off the tee and raw power should help negate the wind that often is a factor at Carnoustie, and the slower greens should aid his putting. Seemingly always the favourite going into a major, the American will finally live up to the billing here.

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