Tiger Woods was not in action at the weekend and bookies don’t believe that this inactivity will have an adverse effect on the three-times Open winner, who is BetVictor’s 9/1 favourite to lift the famous Claret Jug for the first time since 2006. Woods has looked something like his old self this year, emerging victorious in three tour events in 2012 so it’s easy to see why the bookmakers are treading carefully but the 36-year-old hasn’t quite been at his best in majors as a rule in recent times, save for a tie for fourth in the 2011 Masters, so he’s plenty short enough and others arguably represent better value.
Hot on the heels of Woods in the betting are Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy, available at 16/1 and 20/1 respectively via Ladbrokes and William Hill. Westwood has been threatening to land his maiden major for a few years now and his form in the big events has to be respected but he has struggled to get over the finish line and could be set for further heartbreak next weekend. McIlroy meanwhile, has a couple of top tens to his name recently but has missed four cuts in his last six outings, which is a more telling assessment of his current form.
BetVictor offer 20/1 for Luke Donald, whose consistency is likely to be the main selling point for punters keen on backing the world number one. Donald’s missed cut in the US Open recently was his first since last year’s Open Championship at Royal St George’s and the 34-year-old has won three tournaments in that time. Save for a couple of good performances in 2009 and 2010 though, he has rarely looked at his most comfortable in this event.
By contrast Padraig Harrington is a big fan of the Open having carded back-to-back victories in 2007 and 2008. The affable Irishman is also in decent form with top ten finishes in his last couple of majors so he’s undoubtedly one to consider at Royal Lytham and St Annes, where he’s 20/1 (Ladbrokes) to clinch a third triumph.
Elsewhere, Graeme McDowell won’t be without his backers at 33/1 via bet365, the ever-dangerous Phil Mickelson is a 33/1 shot at Stan James, in from 40′s, and Justin Rose’s solid form makes him an interesting each-way consideration at 30/1 courtesy of Skybet. Dustin Johnson meanwhile, was runner up last year and Boylesports’ 50/1 shot can lead an American charge, another 40/1 chance, this time at Totesport, that shouldn’t be discounted is Ian Poulter and 2010 winner Louis Oosthuizen is a slightly chunkier 50/1 at BetVictor.
The value however, lies with Ernie Els at 45/1 (William Hill). Returning to form after a torrid 2011, the ‘Big Easy’ has an incredible record in the Open, save for missed cuts in the last couple and the 2002 champion also enjoys the course, where he has finished second and third in previous Opens.
Ernie Els each-way to win the Open Championship – 45/1 (William Hill)