With the last 15 major tournaments having been won by 15 different players, the 2012 British open held at Royal Lytham and St Annes in Lancashire is about as wide open as majors come. Only three of these 15 were in the world’s top 10 at the time, and remarkably, three were outside the world’s top 100.
Any of the top 50 players in the world have a realistic chance, but they and the bookies were worried about the return to prominence of Tiger Woods (8/1 favourite in The Open betting). Woods, who took time off due to well-publicised off-field issues, has not won a major since the 2008 US Open, but having won three titles already this year, he will be eyeing up his 15th career major title.
In recent years the British Open has provided drama that is unrivalled in the golfing world. That is not to say that American courses do not provide a great spectacle, but that the combination of links courses with typical British weather has caused some thrilling stories in recent years. The unpredictability in recent times has been caused by rapidly changing conditions that can make tee off times incredibly important. Twelve months ago at St.George’s provided a sporting fairytale like no other , as the hugely popular Darren Clarke (150/1 this time around) won his first major championship in emotional scenes on the south coast.
Eleven of the last 13 winners of major tournaments have done so for the first time, and it would be no surprise come Sunday evening, for another first time winner to lift the famous claret jug.
Only one English-born player has won the British open since 1938 and British crowds must be wondering when world number one and three, Luke Donald or Lee Westwood (both can be bet on at 16/1) are finally going to win their elusive first major. Both players have spent numerous weeks at the top of the world rankings, yet both are still to win one of golf’s biggest prizes. More than anything, frustration must be starting to kick in, as in previous years they have had to watch players come from relative obscurity.
In fairness neither has ever produced their best when it really matters in a major, and both are due a fair amount of luck at their home major. For both, it is now a psychological battle more than anything. After failing to make the cut at last year’s Open, Donald, who’s best outing at the open came in 2009, when he came fifth has had two victories already this year, and only regained his world number one status with victory in the BMW championships. Westwood on the other hand, has finished in the top 10 at the last three majors and it looks like this year could well be his time.
Rory McIlroy (16/1 betting odds with the bookies) has had a disappointing last 14 months. Since winning the US Open last year he has failed to finish inside the top 25 at the last four majors.
Royal St Lytham is the only links course used for the British Open that does not have a view of the sea, but to compensate it totals an amazing 206 bunkers. The fact that it is not right on the coast could mean that the weather is not as bad as is normal at a traditional links course. This might allow better scoring and potentially give players not so suited to the unique demands more of a chance.
Open Betting Tips
If you are looking for the winner then our shortlist to pick from would include Francesco Molinari (33/1), Louis Oosthuizen (50/1), Zach Johnson (100/1), Paul Lawrie (60/1) and Phil Mickelson (33/1). However expect it to come down to a shoot-out between 8/1 betting favourite Tiger Woods and 16/1 shot Lee Westwood on Sunday evening and expect LEE WESTWOOD to prevail.