The British Open
Date: July 19-22, 2012
Course: Royal Lytham St. Anne GC Lancashire, ENG
by Evergreen, PGA Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
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It’s not a tradition unlike any other, or the toughest test in all of golf, or glory’s last chance, no, it is simply The Open.The 141stBritish Open Championship takes center stage this week as the world’s best players look to hoist the Claret Jug and add their name to list of winners of this most historic event.Royal Lytham will host the Championship for the 11thtime and the 126 year old course will feature all the treachery that we have come to expect from British Open play.Tiger Woods looks to win his fourth Open title and the online betting sites like him to do so, tabbing him with the shortest odds in the field at 8 to 1.A large group of Europe’s best is right behind him with Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald among those expected to contend.Typically, the Euros have a large experience advantage in links style play but the last two Opens at Royal Lytham have been won by Americans.David Duval won here in 2001 and Tom Lehman bested the field in 1996, with both managing double digit under-par totals.Don’t forget the drastic time change, so get your bets in early and set your alarm as ESPN’s coverage starts Thursday at 5am ET.
Open fans are used to seeing brown, windswept fairways and long fescues at the British venues but this year will be a bit different as a very wet spring and summer has left the 7,128 yard, par-70 layout very green and soft.The roughs at Royal Lytham are thick, almost U.S. Open thick, and there will be less of those shots that roll for 75-100 yards that we typically see.The toughest test remains with the 200+ bunkers that dot the course, and there are some among those that just getting out will be viewed as a success.Players will still get a chance to be creative in taming the course and the weather but this British should also let a few more players into the mix as the course looks as if it can be played a little more straight-up.
Each week, we take a look at the golf sportsbooks and highlight a few players that we think can win it all.We’ve managed to accurately pick Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson in the year’s first two Majors, so we are excited at the opportunity to go three for three.We’ll give you a short, middle and long odds pick to win and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that you can find at any online bookie.Here are our picks to win the 2012 British Open.
Short Favorite: Tiger Woods (8 to 1 odds to win)
We never picked Mr. Woods when he was re-writing the record books and getting even money to win but the ups and downs of the past few years have brought him back to the pack and you can actually make money on him these days.Tiger simply gets how to win at the Open.His two St. Andrews titles were clinics on how to take advantage of scoring opportunities while staying patient elsewhere and his Royal Liverpool victory stands out as he hit driver only once duringthe entire week.Woods has three wins in 2012 and even his missed cuts and poor finishes have included some brilliant moments.Tiger brings the best scoring average into the week and is in the top-13 in total driving, greens hit, total putting and ballstriking.We all wish we could “struggle” the way Tiger does.
Middle of the Road: Graeme McDowell (30 to 1 odds to win)
There isn’t much McDowell doesn’t know about links golf after growing up in Ireland and the 2010 U.S. Open champion proved he can beat the best on a tough course.Graeme is 2ndin fairways hit and that translates in bunker avoidance at Royal Lytham, leaving the best chance to get some looks at birdie.McDowell is above average in greens hit no matter where he plays and has some of the best GIR percentages from 150-200 yards on either Tour.
Longshot: Hunter Mahan (40 to 1 odds to win)
It has been rough for Hunter at the British since his T6 finish in 2007 but it seems that he just has too much going right in his game to have another sub-standard performance at The Open.Mahan has two wins in 2012 and his Tour best overall ballstriking stat suggests that he can find his way around this course while avoiding the trouble.Mahan is 6thin total driving, 11thin fairways hit and 3rdin GIR% so there is no real tee to green weaknesses.If anything, Hunter may prefer to play the ball a little too much in the air by Open standards but the wet conditions will force some more traditional shots into the greens which limits the advantage of the bump and run practitioners.
Head to Head Matches *picks to win based on final score after all four rounds.Check with your favorite online betting site for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
Adam Scott (-115) v. Rickie Fowler (-115) (our pick to win: Fowler)
You can’t lean on the stats so much during the British Open and that is the case with picking Fowler to win this match.Rickie does hit more fairways than Adam but that is about the only real advantage on the stat sheet, although most categories are pretty comparable.The edge for Fowler comes this week in his ball flight.Rickie is good at keeping the ball low and shaping it while keeping his distance.Scott is going to find himself in trouble if he continues to miss fairways at the rate he has and he won’t be able to take advantage of his length out of the roughs and bunkers.If Scott has to throttle back to keep it in play, look for Fowler’s accuracy off the tee to win this match.
Martin Laird (-115) v. Keegan Bradley (-115) (our pick to win: Bradley)
Both of these players make a living by hitting a ton of greens and making the birdie putts but its Bradley that gown the advantage in driving accuracy and that should play out this week.Laird is among the best on Tour in GIR% from off the fairway but there are few places to miss it at Royal Lytham and Martin lags behind Keegan’s scoring average due to more mistakes.Mistake-prone players and Major Championships don’t go well together and Bradley should be favored in this match.