Despite Europe’s continuing domination in the Ryder Cup, Americans have won seven out of the last 10 Open Championships.
In fact, since Nick Faldo last won in 1992, only two Europeans have taken the title, and both at Carnoustie – Paul Lawrie in 1999 and Padraig Harrington last year.
Can a European win the old Claret Jug this year?
Well, the 2008 Open might not be at Carnoustie – it’s at Royal Birkdale in Southport – but there could be a spell of Carnoustie-type weather to blow the pampered world stars of the US Tour off their stroke.
The Met Office’s long-range forecast predicts “longer spells of rain at times especially in the north and west” and that it will be “rather windy at times, especially in the north and west”.
Southport, which as we all know, is situated in the “north and west” could witness a large group of millionaires getting a good soaking – which is always good for a laugh, unless you’ve paid to go along.
Spain’s Sergio Garcia is the jolly with better (9/1), Ladbrokes (10/1) and Betdaq (10/1), but if you are looking for a genuine European threat at the top of the leaderboard, Worksop’s own Lee Westwood, 14/1 with better, 16/1 with Ladbrokes and a stand-out 18/1 with Betdaq, is a real threat at Birkdale.
Westwood has continued his revival this season. After two years without a title he rebounded with a vengeance in 2007 with wins in the Open de Andalucia and the British Masters.
The Ryder Cup hero is currently ranked third on the European Tour and has contested at the top end of virtually every tournament entered in 2008.
Still without a Major, of course, he showed he’s worked out how to compete for the biggest prizes with an impressive third place behind Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate at the US Open in Torrey Pines last month.