An ill-advised kick-around with friends has put paid to Rory McIlroy’s chances of defending his Open Championship title and as a result the betting for the year’s third major has been thrown into disarray.
The Northern Irishman had been a strong favourite to retain the Claret Jug but news that the 26-year-old had ruptured ankle ligaments in a friendly game of football sent 2015 US Open and Masters victor Jordan Spieth, to the head of the betting; the 21-year-old now Stan James’s 11/2 jolly to land his third major of the year at St Andrews.
Victory for Spieth is nevertheless still a big ask despite his success so far this season. Some have questioned the young American’s decision to play in this week’s John Deere Classic rather than head to Scotland earlier to acclimatise but even discounting that, picking up three majors in a calendar year would be an enormous and rare achievement.
Indeed, only two players – Tiger Woods and Ben Hogan – have managed such a feat, so the statistics don’t exactly favour the world number two and his price is plenty short enough when you consider how great an achievement it would be; accordingly, it may be shrewd for punters to look a little further down the field to find the value.
Big-hitter Dustin Johnson is a 14/1 shot at BetVictor and after the South Carolinian tied for sixth and second in the Masters and US Open respectively, it’s easy to see why. Louis Oosthuizen was also a joint runner-up at Chambers Bay last month, a result that prompted Paddy Power to trim the South African to 22/1 to repeat his 2010 success and Justin Rose, at 18/1 with Skybet, is expected to lead the European challenge.
With two top five finishes in a handful of Open Championship appearances, Rickie Fowler is someone that saves some of his best golf for this event so he isn’t without appeal at 28/1 (Winner.com) especially after his Scottish Open triumph and betway’s 33/1 chance Phil Mickelson, who delivered at Muirfield in 2013, is another that can’t be ruled out.
Elsewhere, bet365 chalk Tiger Woods up at 28/1 even though he last won a major in 2008, William Hill can expect interest in their quote of 25/1 about a Jason Day victory and Brandt Snedeker (50/1, Ladbrokes) has been turning in some impressive performances of late.
Sheffield’s Danny Willett meanwhile, is a man whose stock is certainly rising and at 100/1 via Skybet, the 27-year-old could give each-way punters a real run for their money.