#moxeystips’ return for The Open has been a long time coming. Since opening the season with a sneak peak at 2016’s hot prospects (note Danny Willet’s Green Jacket win), a three month slumber comes to an abrupt end with this short piece on the runners and riders teeing it up at Troon this week.
Key points from around the web:
- The last six winners at Troon were American
- Five of the last six Open winners played the Scottish Open the week before
- In the last 10 years, just three players under 35 have won the Claret Jug
- Only three winners since 2000 had competed in less than six Opens
You can disregard the first line (or all of them if you’re me) as coincidence but there might be more substance to the latter three. Experience does count for a lot when the wind blows but, with the exception of an Indian monsoon on Friday, the weather forecast this week isn’t that dreadful. The wind might blow a bit but I think we might see a couple of surprises from one of the younger, powerful players this week – none of whom are fancied in the betting.
Odds listed are betfair sportsbook (paying seven places). Having a look at five main picks and a few outsiders.
DUSTIN JOHNSON – 8/1
The 32 year old finally notched his first major at the U.S. Open last month and followed it with a win at the WGC shortly after to move to #2 in the world. Looking past the fact the latter was handed to him on plate by a Jason Day collapse, DJ is probably the hottest player in world golf right now.
Troon is one of the longer Open courses so Johnson’s brutal power off the tee is a huge asset, especially when playing those long par 5’s into a stiff 30 mph breeze off the coast, but he’s ranked #1 from 50-125 yards – testament to his winter’s work. He’s had a great prep having followed a similar path as past champ Tiger Woods – American chap, might’ve heard the name – by playing friendly rounds in Irish links courses last week. 8/1 still feels a little short given his history of always a bridesmaid, never a bride, but with betfair paying seven places you’d be mad not have him on your betslip.
RORY McILROY – 11/1
It was really tough to leave Jason Day off this list but I feel like Rory’s hot and cold nature will take a turn for the sizzling this week. Despite it not overly suiting his game, he’s got terrific experience of playing links golf and a proven track record for getting over the finish line. He comes into the event on a whirlwind of Zika press, so that’s hopefully been a welcome distraction to the usual pressure which builds before his home major. It’s also worth remembering his raw power and escapades into the impossible at a course where the course record is just 67. Won the Irish Open a couple of months ago but has slipped to #4 in recent times.
SERGIO GARCIA – 28/1
He has to win it eventually, right? Right. Sergio has nine Open top-10s and comes into the week off of Win-T5-T5 in his last three starts. Has the deft touch required around those tricky pot bunkers. Questions remain about his putting but 28/1 does look quite handsome.
ANDY SULLIVAN – 80/1
Skipped past a whole host of possible winners (Philly Mick, Westwood, Patrick Reed) on my way down to the frenetic Englishman. He doesn’t have a whole lot of Open experience with his only start coming last year (he finished a respectable 30th) but does have three European Tour victories to his name. The game’s in his locker to win an event of this magnitude – a strong showing at the Scottish Open last week evidences as much – but he can be his own worst enemy. A top 20 finish (7/2 on the exchange) looks like good value.
DANNY LEE – 125/1
Since the start of the year the New Zealander has consolidated his place in the world’s top 50 with a string of results which, prior to last week’s T3, have bordered on distinctly average. Has the advantage of having won in the U.S. and the confidence that has given him is demonstrated in his accelerated rise up the world rankings. Again, a solid top-20 bet this week if he can make it through the Friday rain to the weekend.
I’ve had a flick through the odds on the betfair exchange and there is staggering value out there. Go and take a peak at the different markets (top-10, top-20, Top-Country) and look out for these players (odds are from betfair exchange and to win):
- Victor Dubuisson – 400/1. V Dubs has been in patchy form of late but is 1.67 to be the leading Frenchman, which should be a near enough guarantee given the other guy is ranked #197 (Dubuisson is #78).
- Russel Knox – 140/1. 2.2 to be the top Scot. That’s as close to printing money you and I will ever come.
- Hideki Matsuyama – 70/1. 1.8 to be the top Japanese guy. Again, printing money. No one else should come close to Matsuyama for that title.
- Thongchai Jaidee – 360/1. Madness. He’s #37 in the word. Should make the cut (1.51).
- Soren Kjeldsen – 260/1. Should beat Olesen to the crown of Top Dane (1.92).
- Miguel Angel Jimenez – 550/1. 4.3 to be the top oldie. A steal.
As Darren Clarke proved in 2011, anyone can win The Open but realistic outsiders this year include Ernie Els (220/1), Luke Donald (210/1) and Smylie Kaufman (660/1). Those are exchange prices, odds elsewhere will vary wildly.
Summary – where do I put ten pounds?
- Rory – 1 EW
- Garcia – 3 EW
- Sullivan – 1 EW
I’d also back all the players recommended in the “Other Markets” section to at least get your money back when my recommendations miss an 18 incher on the last and finish 8th.