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The Open Championship is among the most historic and important sporting events in Britain. It’s the oldest of the four major championships in men’s golf and is always held at a world-class links golf course. Getting onto the Open rota is a major is an incredible honour for any course but it feels particularly special for Royal Portrush to be hosting the tournament this year.
It’s the first time in 68 years that the Open is returning to Northern Ireland. Naturally, Northern Irish golf fans are hugely excited about the tournament as are Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke who will get incredible backing from the watching galleries.
The just like the fans and players, the Dunluce Course at Royal Portrush is ready to go. Changing a course widely regarded as a masterpiece is never a simple undertaking and the decision to alter the original Harry Colt design so significantly that it included the replacing of the last two holes was not taken lightly. Thankfully, the renovation work has been warmly welcomed and the par 71, 7,334 yard layout that will greet the best players in the world is worthy of hosting a tournament of such significance.
Rory McIlroy 9/1 (bet365)
Brooks Koepka 10/1 (Ladbrokes)
Dustin Johnson 16/1 (Sportingbet)
Jon Rahm 16/1 (Coral)
Tiger Woods 20/1 (bet365)
Justin Rose 22/1 (Unibet)
Francesco Molinari 28/1 (888Sport)
Xander Schauffele 28/1 (Unibet)
(Please note that all odds are correct at time of article publishing)
Home favourite Rory McIlroy sits right at the top of the betting with every bookmaker. He will have to cope with a massive amount of pressure but McIlroy has done so before most notably when winning the 2014 Open Championship and the 2016 Irish Open.
Technically, McIlroy has all the tools required to win at Portrush. He is powerful enough to cope with the increase in distance, his short game is rock steady and his putting much improved. Crucially, the 30-year-old also has bags of links golf experience and won’t easily get rattled if and when conditions turn nasty.
The final thing to note is that the vast majority of recent Open champions showed extended strong form during the season before their win. McIlroy ticks that box with wins at the Players Championship and Canadian Open so is a worthy favourite.
Defending champion, Francesco Molinari, is more than tempting at 28/1 with 888Sport at a golf course which should suit his style of play but it’s Jon Rahm who could provide the stiffest competition to McIlroy.
He lacks the links golf experience of many of those around him toward the top of the betting and doesn’t have 44th is his best finish at the Open. However, Rahm won the Irish Open for a second time a fortnight ago showing he has the skills to play well at links courses and is very much trending towards a first major championship win.
Tommy Fleetwood 30/1 (888Sport)
Jason Day 33/1 (William Hill)
Louis Oosthuizen 50/1 (bet365)
Bernd Weisberger 66/1 (Betfred)
Graeme McDowell 70/1 (Sportingbet)
Tyrrell Hatton 90/1 (bet365)
Lee Westwood 100/1 (Paddy Power)
Andy Sullivan 150/1 (Unibet)
The Open Championship has thrown up many long odds winners over the years. With the possibility of another upset in the betting, having a couple of players onside each way is a smart option.
Louis Oosthuizen is the first player to consider. The South African knows a thing or two about springing a surprise in the Open. He was sent off as a 150/1 shot for the 2010 Open but outlasted the competition at St Andrews to get his hands on the Claret Jug.
He’s subsequently proven his class by winning big tournaments all around the world and finishing runner up in each of the four majors. Oosthuizen’s form this season shows his game is in good nick whilst his links golf experience gives him a real chance of at least contending at generous odds.
When it comes to players in great form it is impossible to look past Bernd Weisberger. The Austrian has battled back impressively from a fairly serious wrist injury that forced him to take time off from the game. That enforced break only added fuel to the competitive fire that burns in Weisberger and he was delighted to follow up second place at the Irish Open with a playoff victory at last week’s Scottish Open. Weisberger loves the challenge of links golf and is ready for his strong run of form to continue.
Finally, consider a small stakes bet on Andy Sullivan at a triple figure price. The Englishman has rediscovered his mojo on the course over the last few months and is ready to really kick on. He has plenty of links experience and could just rise to the challenge ahead.
Rory McIlroy to win at 9/1 with bet365
Jon Rahm to win at 16/1 with Coral
Louis Oosthuizen each way at 50/1 with bet365
Bernd Weisberger each way at 66/1 with Betfred
Andy Sullivan each way at 150/1 with Unibet