Bookmakers are struggling to decide on a favourite for the 146th Open Championship.
Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy have all been misfiring of late and that’s left the betting wide open for this year’s Claret Jug.
Based on reputation over form, McIlroy and Johnson nevertheless still occupy two of the first five spots in the market at around the 14/1 mark and others at bigger prices are preferred.
Johnson, Day and McIlroy, the supposed big guns, all missed the cut in the US Open at Erin Hills, a notably tough course, and Royal Birkdale certainly won’t be any more forgiving.
Just ask the likes of Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose, who all struggled around this extremely testing track to card scores of 20 over or worse in 2008.
Eventual winner Padraig Harrington won with a score of three over, becoming only the third golfer since 1986 to win the Claret Jug in over par.
You need to be right at the top of your game to triumph at Birkdale and there’s no man striking the ball better at the moment than JORDAN SPIETH.
While people will tell you that Spieth wins his matches on the greens, the two-time major winner is ranked first for approach play this season and fifth for greens in regulation.
The 23-year-old is a great in the making.
Despite already owning a green jacket, Spieth is still improving his all-round game and more majors are waiting for him – especially while his main rivals are out of sorts.
Unlike Spieth, SERGIO GARCIA had to wait 30 years and play in 74 majors before landing one of the big four.
Garcia is one of the most talented golfers on tour and the only surprise with his Masters victory in May was that it didn’t come sooner.
Now that Sergio has finally slipped on that green jacket and got the monkey off his back, he can go on to become a multiple major winner with Birkdale the obvious starting point.
The Spaniard has had four top 10 finishes in his last six Opens and has only missed the cut twice since the turn of the millennium.
Those first two selections can be backed at 16/1 and 18/1 respectively with 188BET.
At a bigger price, LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN is too good to miss at 50/1 with the same firm.
His swing is sublime and his form is not bad either.
The South African former Claret Jug winner posted a respectable three under at the US Open and has made the cut in every PGA Tour event he’s played in this campaign.
It’s hard to see why 2015 Open champion ZACH JOHNSON is as big as 80/1.
Johnson missed the cut in his first three Open Championships but has gone on to card six top 10 finishes in his 10 appearances since.
While his Open form is solid the 41-year-old is in good form heading into the tournament too.
He finished T5 in the John Deere Classic, the event he finished T3 in before victory at St. Andrew’s, and looks primed for another big tournament.
While the likes of Spieth and Garcia will hopefully sparkle in the limelight, Oosthuizen and Johnson could well come and steal the show at big prices.
Jordan Spieth e/w - 16/1 (188BET)
Sergio Garcia e/w - 18/1 (188BET)
Louis Oosthuizen e/w - 50/1 (188BET)
Zach Johnson e/w - 80/1 (188BET)