Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler are among the favorites to win the 2018 British Open. The 147th edition of the tournament begins on Thursday at the Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland, with World No. 1 Johnson the player to beat.
Meanwhile, U.S. Open winner Brooks Koepka is only valued at 22-1 by oddsmakers, the same as three-time Open champion Tiger Woods.
OddsShark.com's Stephen Campbell has the latest odds for the tournament's top players:
- Dustin Johnson 12-1
- Justin Rose 16-1
- Rickie Fowler 16-1
- Rory McIlroy 16-1
- Jordan Spieth 20-1
- Jon Rahm 20-1
- Tommy Fleetwood 20-1
- Justin Thomas 22-1
- Brooks Koepka 22-1
- Tiger Woods 22-1
- Henrik Stenson 28-1
McIlroy Worth Backing as Winner
McIlroy still isn't back to his vintage best, despite a long wait, yet there have been signs the 2014 Open winner can rediscover his swagger in a major.
Those signs include McIlroy winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational after finishing runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year.
More than any recent successes, though, McIlroy is a strong candidate to take the Claret Jug because this is a tournament he relishes:
The proof of McIlroy's Open affinity comes from his enviable track record, which includes an "average finish" of 3.3 in the "last five Opens," per Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com.
If there's one reason for bettors to avoid McIlroy, it would be his recent problems on the greens, where he's "110th in strokes gained," according to Golf Digest and Golf World's Alex Myers.
Proving he can maintain power with the driver at Carnoustie will allow McIlroy to stay in the mix to win. Then it will be a matter of the 29-year-old using his experience and holding his nerve with the putter.
Johnson Will Struggle to Overcome History
He hasn't always had the best time in Open tournaments, so Johnson needs to overcome a troubled history to win at Carnoustie. The 34-year-old blew an eagle putt and birdie putt to miss out at the U.S. Open in 2015 after wasting a three-shot overnight lead in 2010.
Erasing those agonising near-misses won't be easy for Johnson, who is in a pattern of coming up short this season. The South Carolina native "has a win and five top-three finishes" to his credit, per Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post.
Johnson's history has been too often defined by late collapses in the majors, even if he has the all-round game to leave Scotland with the Claret Jug. Playing in this talented a field, against so many former Open winners, means its smart to bet on Johnson missing out again.
Woods an Excellent Outside Bet
Odds of 22-1 should be enticing for bettors who like a certain element of risk, especially when Woods is feeling this confident. The 42-year-old isn't concerned about power but welcomes the challenge to play a more subtle game at Carnoustie, per BBC Sport's Peter Scrivener.
However, Woods also sounded a note of caution about the slower greens in Angus, per Bob Harig of ESPN.com. Woods may be concerned, but he has dealt with similar issues successfully in the past, and it's one reason why he can't be easily overlooked.
Even so, bettors may be put off by Woods' inconsistent form. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, but he finished tied for fourth place at the Quicken Loans National in June.
Regardless of any these struggles, Woods has often saved his best game for The Open.