Masters champion Angel Cabrera and Graeme McDowell would hold strong claims on their best Stateside form. The latter is much preferred, having finished 4th at Le Golf National much earlier in his career. After top-20s in three of his last four starts, all of which came in top-class fields, McDowell made the final shortlist before being edged out by Hansen. In contrast, Cabrera has done nothing this season outside that Masters triumph, and the Argentinian has yet to make a top-10 in six trips to Paris.
A measure of how things can change quickly in golf lies in the fact that by far the biggest gun on show, Padraig Harrington, is almost an afterthought at 28/1. All eyes will be on the Irishman in a fortnight as he seeks to win his third consecutive Open, but unless he can find some form in Paris its unlikely many people will be backing him to do so. His form; five missed cuts out of the last six, one top-20 since the opening week of 2009; is actually that of a 200/1 also-ran. At least he has shown a liking for Le Golf National before, finishing 2nd on his sole previous visit.
As usual, the consistent Soren Kjeldsen deserves a mention on a course where he has finished top-12 in two of the last three years. From a course form perspective, an even better chance lies with Richard Green and Anders Hansen. The latter has four Paris top-15s this century, while Green looks every inch an obvious contender. Three of his last four visits have produced top-7s, and excellent finishes of 6th and 9th in his two latest events further strengthen the Aussie left-hander’s case.
However, the likes of Green, Hansen and Kjeldsen and hardly prolific, and given that I’ve already picked one short-priced player with this profile, (Soren Hansen), there’s little value in taking restrictive odds about them. Especially in a tournament like this that has been repeatedly dominated by outsiders. The last seven French Open champions started at a minimum of 66/1, with last year’s winner Pablo Larrazabal the third 500/1 chance among them.