Picking a winner at the 2016 Open is harder than ever. Neil Tappin assesses the chances of the Open Championship favourites from Jason Day to Adam Scott - here's who to back and who to avoid.
Picking a winner at this year’s Open Championship is even harder than usual. The last Open held at Royal Troon was in 2004 so few of the Open Championship favourites have seen the golf course in the flesh. Throw in the fact that as a member’s Club, Troon does not court publicity so the test itself is something of a mystery to many of those responsible for setting the odds… and most of us watching! We look at the five Open Championship favourites and rate their chances:
2016 Open Championship Betting Guide
Jason Day 15/2
In the last 12 months, Jason Day has gone from strength to strength. The current World Number One has won six times including the USPGA, the WGC Match Play and The Players Championship. Throw in the fact that he finished one shot outside last year’s play-off and you can almost hear the engraver sharpening his compass (or whatever he uses). The only black mark against his name came at the end of the recent WGC Bridgestone Invitational. Giving up the lead to Dustin Johnson was a shock to all of us, the effects of which are yet to be seen. Surely he can’t continue to play the winning brand of golf he’s displayed over the last year? We wouldn’t bet against him!
GM Rating: 9/10
Dustin Johnson 9/1
The US Open Champion arrives at Royal Troon as the hottest player in the field and one of the leading Open Championship favourites. His recent win at the WGC Bridgestone added yet more weight to his chances – that he’s had a week away from the game since then should mean he tees up on Thursday in form but fresh. So that begs the question, how does his Open record stack up? Well, between 2010 and 2014 he didn’t finish outside the top 32. He also finished tied second in 2011 and even last year, when he finished tied 49th, he held the lead after the opening round. All this means that the American understands how to play links golf. Royal Troon is famed as a ball strikers course, the long back nine played into the prevailing wind will reward the longest, straightest hitters in the field. Dustin will be the man to beat… as long as he doesn’t beat himself.
GM Rating: 9/10
Related: Open Championship Golf Betting Tips
Rory McIlroy 9/1
The 2014 Champ will be the home favourite at Royal Troon. As one of the most talented players of his generation, McIlroy is always a possible winner. However, his 2016 season has been mediocre at best. Just one win so far – the Irish Open – and a missed cut at the recent US Open is not the form of a clear favourite. But when Rory is on, there are few that can come close. If the draw is good to him and the recent changes he’s been making to his grip have bedded in, McIlroy can certainly win his second Claret Jug. Perhaps there are too many question marks to warrant more than a speculative each way bet.
GM Rating: 7/10
10 Open First Timers With A Chance To Shine
Jordan Spieth 10/1
In one sense Jordan Spieth’s Masters meltdown was the biggest shock in recent golfing history. He’d seemed oblivious to the nerves we all suffer from, his putter acting as the bullet proof shield that would force him into the winner’s circle. But Spieth’s long game was far from perfect at Augusta. The American was fighting his swing at the season’s first major and has continued to do so for much of the season since. His results have reflected that internal battle. He arrives at Royal Troon having missed out on last year’s play-off by just a shot (like Day). But the Spieth of 2016 is a different beast. The glory of 12 months ago has faded somewhat revealing a frustrated player, battling to compete alongside the likes of Day and Johnson. Can he win at Troon? We would be surprised. This year’s test is likely to be one for the ball strikers. Whilst his red-hot putter will be invaluable when the wind gets up and the back nine bears its teeth, his lack of power in comparison to the other leading contenders (and accuracy), may cost him dear.
GM Rating: 6/10
Adam Scott 22/1
The Aussie started this year with a new, short putter and the bit between his teeth. Back to back wins at the WGC Cadillac Championship and Honda Classic sent him rocketing up the world rankings. But since the Spring it’s all gone quiet for Scott. Just one top 10 since his last win has stunted his progress. However, that solitary top 10 came two weeks ago at the Bridgestone. If he can rediscover his imperious long game, there is no doubt he can be a factor – his 68-hole masterclass at the 2012 Open is testament to that (don’t mention the last few holes!) Can he get across the line? We think he has unfinished business with the Claret Jug and his odds make him an appealing favourite.
GM Rating: 7/10