Tiger could easily win a 4th Open Championship this week but the layout and par 70 may not suit him although he has a decent draw with Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose in the first two rounds with a 9:42am tee off on Thursday.
The Open at Lytham has been won by a World Number One golfer on its 3 previous occasions since rankings were introduced – Seve Ballesteros, Tom Lehman and David Duval – so Luke Donald at 20/1 (William Hill) will be hoping that sequence continues with his first major.
Donald has a big chance and will enjoy playing the first two rounds with Phil Mickelson and Geoff Ogilvy and has a great each way chance with Paddy Power offering 1/4 odds on 7 places.
Padraig Harrington is playing some of the best golf of his career and is top price 20/1 courtesy of BetVictor to land a 4th Major and 3rd Open this week. He had a great chance in last month’s US Open and has been strongly backed from 40/1 to 20/1 since for an Open triumph at Lytham.
Lee Westwood would be a popular winner this week and looks decent value at 16/1 (Ladbrokes) on a course which should suit his game down to the ground; straight off the tee is vital here. Westwood looks a great bet to win his first round 3 ball with Masters Champion Bubba Watson and Japan’s Yoshinori Fujimoto at 5/6 with Skybet.
Justin Rose will be thrilled to be drawn with Tiger Woods and at 33/1 (BetVictor) looks the best of the domestic outsiders while 2011 US Open Champion Rory McIlroy will have his supporters at 18/1 (Blue Square).
With 15 separate players winning the last 15 Majors it is no suprise to see the bookies pricing this event like The Grand National. They have had some huge results in the last 3 Opens – Stewart Cink at Turnberry in 2009, Louis Oosthuizen at St Andrews in 2010 and Darren Clarke last year.
Branden Grace is one player who has a far bigger chance than Totesport’s 125/1 odds suggest but with 157 to choose from, this week’s Open Championship looks just that.
Hills offer 6/4 that a previous Major winner wins this week which looks a great price until you look at those who have yet to win a big one but nevertheless I have been tempted by this one.
As always conditions will play a huge part in the puzzle in what promises to be a great but tough week for all concerned given the forecast.