The only major not played on American soil, and the most historic of the four, is welcomed by the beautiful Royal Portrush course to Northern Ireland. A links course, the weather could play a part and, if your chosen player gets the wrong end of the draw it could be curtains.
Always a special occasion on the golfing calendar, who lifts the famous Claret Jug?
The leading candidates
Rory McIlroy (9/1 – Betfred App) hit 61 around the Portrush course when aged only 16. He won at Hoylake in 2014 and has finished in the top five in his last three Opens. There is huge expectancy on his shoulder as he plays on native soil and he will be motivated more than ever if that is possible. Everyone will want a piece of him ahead of the tournament, but if he can maintain focus, he has a serious chance of lifting the claret jug. No one knows local conditions better, he won’t be stung if the high winds blow and has 11 top ten finishes in 14 PGA Tour events this year, including two wins.
Brooks Koepka (11/1 with most betting apps) the major master, has won four of his last nine majors with a local man on his bag and a competitive all-round game is a serious contender. This year he has won one major and been second in the other two and he has taken four of the last nine majors played and has every chance to add to his tally.
Dustin Johnson (16/1) was the runner-up in Royal St Georges in 2011 and has finished top ten a couple of times since. Hugely talented he has only won one major. He won the WGC Mexico this year and has seven top ten finishes this season but can go AWOL mentally. He has finished in the top four at The Open in four out of the last five years and is a better each way punt. The weather and the draw will play a huge part in defining his chances. If it blows, he won’t win.
John Rahm (16/1) fresh of a recent win and a winner of two Irish Opens in the last three years, but his record in three Opens is not impressive with 44th his highest finish. He has a top five finish in each of the other three majors but probably needs the links weather to be on his side to win this tournament. Fancied by many but potentially lacks the patience needed on a links course.
Tiger Woods (20/1) has his last Open title in 2006 and is the comeback kid after winning the Masters earlier this year in the sunshine of Augusta but one swallow does not make a summer. He has only played three tournaments since and tied ninth was his best return. The Northern Irish chill might not be to his liking, but nobody will chart his way around the course more intelligently.
Justin Rose (22/1) was the runner-up last year and made his name as an amateur in 1998 with a top-five finish. Not as consistent as he used to be, or would like, he does not bring stellar recent form to the course. He tied third at the US Open and has six top ten returns this year. He amazingly only has two top 10 finishes at The Open since his 4th place in 1998 as a 17-year old. He was, however, tied second last year and can never be discounted.
The next inline
Jordan Spieth (40/1 – Worth backing on the Paddy Power app who are paying 8 places each way) is heading back to somewhere near his best form and is a big price heading into this event and along with Rickie Fowler (30/1) who always grabs betting attention, has a shot. Francesco Molinari is the defending champion after winning at Carnoustie last year to become the first golfer from Italy to win a major golf tournament.
Tommy Fleetwood (30/1) grabs my fancy as a player who likes the big stage. Although it doesn’t mean he wins, he hasn’t missed a cut in a year and made the top five at the US Open. The Englishman is definitely one to consider for a top-five finish at 15/2.
Xander Schaufele (25/1) brings good major form after a tied second last year. His major record is strong with a tied second in last year’s Masters and a tied third in the US Open. He has put himself into positions and surely wins a major at some stage. He seems to be the perfect each-way punt or a play at 13/2 to finish in the top five.
Matt Kuchar (35/1) was hot on the heels of Spieth two years ago when he played superbly and he brings plenty of experience to Northern Ireland. A two-time winner this year he has the game at 41 to compete. He is a dependable option as he will be patient and consistent, traits that are needed on links courses.
Matt Wallace (50/1) has started to grow in major championships and the Scot could be a contender if he can cope with the pressures of a major.
Hao-tong Li (125/1 stand out price on the bet 365 app & as low as 70/1 with Marathon bet) is a young player who came third at Birkdale three years ago. He possesses a solid short game and possesses good links form.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (275/1) claimed his first win on the European Tour a couple of weeks ago when he beat off a challenge by Rahm to claim the trophy. He will arrive at Portrush with plenty of confidence and belief and a game to contend. He is accurate off the tees and is a definite each-way play at longer prices.
- Rory McIlroy to win The Open at 9/1 (SkyBet) is the form and romantic choice to win on home soil
- Brooks Koepka to win The Open at 11/1 (Bet365) is Mr Major and it is better to have him on your side
- Tommy Fleetwood to have a Top 5 finish at 15/2 on the UniBet App
- Xander Schaufele to have a Top 5 finish at 13/2 with UniBet
- Christiaan Bezuidenhout to have a Top 20 finish at 10/1with SkyBet